Joe Lean and the Jing Jang Jong and tonight’s openers Alphabeat are both on the cusp of something big.
Both have already released singles and the Jing Jang Jong had, only the night before, finished their stint as warm up for the Cribs at Brixton Academy but both have everything ahead of them and newly handed out mantles to live up to. Although the room was brimming with staff and competition winners there was no shortage of atmosphere, no doubt the audience was fully aware of both bands’ recent infectious singles, and whilst you could be sure it was those songs that would arouse the crowd the most there would be no display of ignorance on anyone’s part.
According to Joe, the bands had first crossed paths when the effervescent front man danced alone at one of Alphabeat’s gig last summer. There was to be plenty more dancing and hand clapping tonight as Silkeborg’s finest kicked off the evening exactly as they would finish it, with the wider smiles than most would save for Christmas. Minus their bass and keys, who were picking up awards for best song and best pop band back home in Denmark, the impeccable vocals exuberated enthusiasm and carried the band through the loudest and most entertaining acoustic performance I have seen in along time. The three males left appeared on stage in typical indie fashion, t-shirts paying tribute to Michigan, Batman Forever and The Smiths, and Stine bucked the trend upstaging them in the brightest pink top available without a health warning.
From start to finish Alphabeat never put a foot wrong, even when a stray drumstick de-tuned the guitar, the audience offered their full attention. With all four members singing from start to finish their set seemed to pass in the blink of an eye, and the catchy 80s pop was more than enough to get their new followers singing along, bopping heads and even attempting the occasional two step.
The lyrics were suitably astute at one moment and then crass in a way only perfect pop music could find acceptable the next. Couple phrases like “come like a thief in the night/ you stole my heart/ solitude eraser/elevator” with enough oos, aahs, doos and das to make the Kaiser Chiefs blush and everyone would be a little confused. Fortunately Alphabeat carry it of with style. How anyone could have a bad word to say against this lot is beyond me.
‘Fascination’, new single ‘Ten thousand nights’ and ‘Fantastic 6’ are all pop smashes and their take on Human League’s ‘Don’t You Want Me’ was sublime from start to finish. There was even time for indie’s newest show off Joe Lean to join them onstage for a jaw droppingly good rendition of ‘Digital Love’ the last great thing European music gave us, Daft Punk.
By the third week in February thanks to some tireless touring, as a live band, Joe Lean and the Jing Jang Jong have already cemented their place on the throne as ‘the next big thing’. Joe Lean, who doesn’t join us until the end of instrumental intro earbasher ‘Tough Terrible’, comes in somewhere between early Jagger and Adam Ant dragged backwards through post Libertines London (no he’s not Johnny Borrell!) and is the perfect showman, with enough personality and voice to be the difference between success and failure.
This shouldn’t detract from the rest of the band as they have to supply the tunes and the power for their frontman to dance to and if they were any less than as brilliant they are tonight then the whole package wouldn’t work.
From the first chorus of ‘Where Do You Go?’ the band toyed with their audience and the raucous stage atmosphere finally spilled over into the crowd. ‘Light and the Dark’ isn’t quite there with the other songs and sounds like it could be polished off for a stadium tour later in life, but it falters only by the high standards the band set with loud, sexy pop music. The piercing snare, the shuddering bass and the deafening sounds of awesome songs like ‘Lucio Starts Fires’, ‘Teenagers’, ‘I Ain’t Sure’ and new single ‘Lonely Buoy’ should be more than enough to make you buy this lots long player as long as they can relay an ounce of there personas and atmosphere onto record.
As the pop dream was violently culled by ‘Baby’ a song in length, nearer to prog than pop the stage descended into a brilliant farce of smoke, feedback, sweaty fringes and the a guitarist using his amp to friction burn his strings. All of a sudden the nice clean I-tunes studios where a mess of indie pop over enthusiasm. Just to top the night off Alphabeat returned to the stage and joined the Jing Jang Jong with a semi-improvised but still startling address of ‘Public Image Ltd’.