IAMX/Dead Disco

Islington Academy, London - 26 September 2007

"Smart, sharp, exciting, fresh"

It was good to see an all girl four-piece in the form of Dead Disco and with their confident attitude and brash pop I was willing them to be memorable. Sadly they didn't quite make the cut, largely due to the incessant and excessively dominant scratchy lead guitar. Nevertheless, they looked the part and there can never be enough all-female bands out there.

I only discovered IAMX when listening to the last Dependent Septic sampler earlier this year. A remix of their 2004 title track from their debut Kiss and Swallow stood out, prompting me to read the sleeve notes in more detail to find that Chris Corner of Sneaker Pimps fame was the driving force. Seemingly indulging his personal tastes of the alternative underground, IAMX ingeniously blends that influence with mainstream-edged pop and glam theatrics.

[IAMX - Chris Corner][IAMX]The results are uniquely compelling and it wouldn't be any surprise if in 2008 IAMX crossed over big time where names like Depeche Mode (whose clever yet sing along song structures) and Marylin Manson (for the theatrical presentation) could be handy points of reference in selling the sound to a potentially huge Emo youth audience. 600 tickets of the 800 capacity at Islington academy had sold in advance and with many buying on the door this was close to a sell-out.

And what an eclectic audience. You had your London fashionistas, Goths, older industrial heads, average Joes and a serious screaming teenage girl contingent squashed into the barriers at the very front, sporting copycat make-up. Clearly, IAMX have already built up a loyal following, one than spans generations and trends. It's just the sort of huge market potential that any record company would kill for.

IAMX's reputation for putting on something of a show is well-deserved. Corner's look, combined with his slick dance moves, top hat rolling, splits, frozen poses and general non-stop movement and frenetic pace meant that whatever one made of the music there's no doubt Corner earned his wages tonight. Smart, sharp, exciting, fresh - there was never a dull moment. Although always the focus of the band, Corner is joined by a tight three piece band. Most notable was female keyboard player and backing vocalist who voice was well used adding variety to the lyrical delivery. The guitarist was adept, never intrusive and the drummer was placed side-on to the audience meaning we not only got a great view of his skillful work but he could look out on the adorning crowd, savouring the charged atmosphere as a much as everyone else in the room.

Corner's voice is distinctive and its application skilled. He switched effortlessly from powerful lo-tempo stuff like the brilliant President to the chanting "Hello, hello" chorus of the memorable Kiss and Swallow, convincing at every turn. He never wavered for a moment. This in spite of the fact that the prolific moves he made would be enough to make even the fittest dance instructor pant feverishly. As the evening drew to a close Corner yelled out: "You are the spirit of this fucking music!". The thunderous response he received suggests his faith is well-placed and is set to launch him onto a whole new level. Invest now and watch that stock rise and rise. 8/10

Rob Dyer