Cabaret/Das Flüff/Cult With No
London - 26 November 2021
Beguiling. Glorious. Christmas had come early"
Billed as an
Electro Double Bill, tonight saw three acts that I would have
happily gone to see individually. Christmas had come early.
Can't say I
remember seeing them in the intervening years, but there was
something satisfying about them having lasted so long and to see
them still doing their thing. And their thing is a rock-influenced
heavy goth vibe. Not really my thing mind you, but live there was
some very solid drum work helping to keep a pretty tight performance
throughout. Due to YOU KNOW WHAT, they hadn't played live for two
Maybe that's why the performance felt a bit workmanlike, as
if we'd walked in on a rehearsal. Lead female vocalist aside, it
lacked passion. Animal was best of the set for my tastes,
largely thanks to a nice middle break section. New song Inner
Twist got its first ever live airing, but their whole set was
just too damn loud.
and next on stage were suit-wearing alt-lounge duo Cult With No Name. With the ballad their
preferred song format of choice and most often constructed around a
piano sound, on paper they certainly looked like the musical
outliers of the night. And they were.
rather than sounding incongruous, they'd cleverly (and smartly)
carefully selected the entries for tonight's set list, focusing on
the material that was with more overtly electronic or beat driven,
or both. The result was simply terrific.
I've seen Cult With No Name live many
times, and this performance was instantly up there as one of
their best ever for my tastes. They began proceedings with the
skipping drum groove of Over and Out of Here from 2014's Another
Landing album, featuring Kelli Ali on guest vocals (not live
but on backing track).
Photos L-R: Running order, Cult With No Name
build of All This Spite (Comes at a Price) from their 2019 Mediaburn
album sounded excellent and as if it had been taken from a James
Bond film soundtrack. Low and High (also from Mediaburn) had
never performed live before.
from their latest album Nights In North Sentinel released
earlier this year, The Automatic Day and Noa's Arc
were up next. They closed their set with the excellent Everything
Lasts An Age. The carefully curated approach to their set
worked a treat, nicely embedding me in for the rest of the evening.
a swanky panache about singer Erik Stein's delivery, but it
comes across as effortless and never arrogant. Meanwhile,
dexterous keyboard player Jon Boux just keeps his head down
throughout, leaving Stein to do the posing while he delivers the
musical goods time after time.
list: Over and Out of Here, All This Spite (Comes at a Price),
Wasted, Low on High, The Automatic Day, Noa's Arc, Everything
Lasts An Age
Photos L-R: Das Flüff x 3
Oh! Das Flüff
how I have missed thee!
There's something alchemical about experiencing Das Flüff live. It
had been too long since I'd been in their company. This was (as
ever) a dark delight. The set featured a couple of new songs, the
excellent Suicide Fail and Dance 'Til The End, and
several choice cuts from their most recent album Maximum Damage.
Das Flüff have always operated, and worked, on two levels
simultaneously. You could not listen to the lyrics, close your eyes
and miss the theatrical delivery and simply listen to their
thumpingly good tunes. But what sets them apart are the intricacies
of their composition that are at once impressive and beguiling.
Tearaway, another new song, apparently about kindergarten
children climbing a tree while Dawn was trying to do yoga!
Priceless. A duet with Roi from Mechanical Cabaret on Wake Up
was joyful to behold. If you've never seen Das Flüff live there is a
hole in your life that you're not yet aware of. All I can tell you
is to indulge yourself at the next opportunity.
Set list: Maximum Damage, Thee, Lying Lips, Millennial, Not
Enough, Strip Down, One Day, Wake Up, Love Bites, Suicide Fail,
Dance 'Til The End, Little Tearaway, Skin On Skin, Big Fucking
Back in the
day, like 21 years ago (WTF?!), Mechanical
Cabaret were a
two-piece live. Roi Robertson on lead vocals and the odd bit
of drum pad smashing and tinkling some synth keys, and Tobie
Chandler mainly on synths.
Around the mid naughties, Bruce Lovelock joined on percussion,
rounding them out as a
three-piece live for a period. Bruce and Tobie then both moved
abroad and departed the band, while production whiz Steve Bellamy,
of Greenhaus fame, took
on a greater role, helping to take Mechanical Cabaret onto another
level both in the studio and live.
chatted to Roi, for sometime he had been keen on having more music
played live and had been actively looking for a third member to join
him and Bellamy on stage. Then, last year, Tobie returned home to
the UK (to get married) and Steve noticed Tobie walking along the
street one day and the penny dropped. Why hadn't they asked Tobie if
he wanted to re-join the band for live shows? So they did, and he
Photos L-R: Mechanical Cabaret
began with the singles Little Joys and Black Mirror,
before delving into classic back catalogue territory with Disbehave
and Blank Canvas, two of their best songs. Both dating back
to 2006's Product
For Your Insecurity album. Blank Canvas still
sounds as raw live as it ever did, the true essence of the punk
attitude magnificently maintained.
Having recently married himself (must be something in the MC water),
Roi was clearly in a good place in his head. This came across in
spades throughout his performance and was an absolute pleasure to be
around and to see. And the audience lapped it up too. One guy next
to me in front of the stage was totally absorbed, only briefly
taking time out to tell me what a fantastic showman Roi is, before
fawningly laying is hands on Roi whenever he came close.
To emphasise the Electro Double Bill header, Das Fluff's Dawn
Lintern returned the favour from earlier, joining the band on stage
for a duet on Death Trip Sex. It had already been a
splendiferous evening up until now, and Mechanical Cabaret's set
rounded off what was a complete delight.
This was one of the most enjoyable Mechanical Cabaret gigs I've been
to over a period of more than 20 years, and I've been to a few! A
perfect end to a glorious (and dark) winter evening, and a very
timely and welcome respite from the travails of the world outside. 8/10
Set list: Little Joys, Black Mirror, Disbehave, Blank Canvas,
Different But The Same, Interesting Times, Bus Stop Stripper,
Perverse In Reverse, Death Trip Sex, See Her Smile, Nothing
Special, I Lost My Friend To A Videogame
Photos: Rob Dyer