“Southampton make some noise!!!”
A common enough shout at Garden Court, the student’s union venue, but tonight, on this small planet, Pendulum rocked civilization, or at least, my ear drums. After a no-show (or backstage DJ set) by Breakfastaz, and lots of crazy emo and new rave scenesters dancing like silly people at this annoyingly 14+ (I think) event, I wasn’t feeling quite set up for the band…
Blood Sugar. Quite simply, the best synthesis of rock music and d’n’b you’ll ever hear, and they kicked off with it. Pity the MC wasn’t Jakes, the legend that performed at Breaking Ground @ SEOne, but the random white guy at the front tonight did a pretty immense job of getting the crowd going.
Flailing elbows, grinding women, pogoing nutters in fluorescent face-paint, and a mental mosh-pit – it could only be Pendulum. Slam, Voodoo People, Tarantula, Hold Your Colour, all got the screams. The new one, Granite, was surprisingly rocky, and not exactly a crowd pleaser: everyone wants the cheesy synths, the big build up and the intense release of the best d’n’b/rock mash-ups.
I’ve never been this sweaty after a gig. Dave and I, once we got outside into the steaming mass of people, wandered home; I stripped to the waist, and was able, disgustingly so, to wring out the sweat and lots of the water dumped all over me – being shorter than most guys, I get the elbows, the kicks from the crowd surfers, the fists and the knees all ramming into you from all sides, but still, it’s a great feeling, being part of this mass of humanity, all celebrating the joys of live music.
That’s the best thing about Pendulum – they bring a very human face, and real warmth and personality, to drum and bass. Guitars, drums, bass, keys and voices all meld together with a definite edge for the hook, and for keeping a crowd bouncing along. On the odd occasions I got the space, I grooved and threw some shapes, although most of the time, we were all just jumping forward to worship the band, as always seems to happen.
Warm up: 4/10 – either a pre-recorded set, or a backstage cop-out
Atmosphere: 7/10 – a lot of younger kids, and a lot of anal security taking people’s glowsticks, but still, once it got going it was pretty mental
Main act: 8.5/10 – didn’t really connect with the crowd as much as other bands (Maximo Park being the best I’ve seen) but played an awesome show, and really brought the noise to the south coast
Overall: 7/10 – the warm up, or lack of, really let the whole thing down a notch, but still, an insane main set more than made up for it.