Shy Child @ Bar Academy, 27/10/07

No-one ever came up with a better name for it than nu-rave did they? No-one came up with an alternative that stuck anyway. Who cares what’s in a name anyway? If the original rave scene hasn’t been reborn by a bunch of indie kids with drum machines and keyboards, so what? If you’re that literal minded then wait til you hear about other instruments being used in drum n bass other than drums and bass. Don’t tell anyone, but there’s not much in the way of blues in some RnB songs.What was I talking about? Oh yeah. For all the exciting new bands that have sprung up in the last couple of years that could be loosely grouped into the nu-rave camp I’ve only caught a couple of them live (Hadouken!, Does It Offend You, Yeah? and, at a push, the punctuationless Hot Chip) so I was looking forward to catching Shy Child doing their thing.

Although the duo have been together since 2000, Shy Child’s form over the past year or so has been immaculate. Remixes of the likes of Editors, Archie Bronson Outfit and the Futureheads have brought them extra exposure, bolstered by supporting the likes of the Klaxons, CSS and Hot Chip, all leading up to a supporting slot for Muse at Wembley.

Amongst all this supporting and remixing of others they’ve also turned out some pretty decent tunes of their own, which this headline tour around some smallish venues (certainly compared to the Reading/Leeds and Wembley stages) would concentrate an audience’s focus on.

It looks like this year’s constant touring has paid off too. The Bar Academy stage isn’t tough to fill, even when there’s only two of you but Nate Smith (on drums) and Pete Cafarella (vocals and keytar thing) make a noise that more populous bands would envy and whip a besotted crowd into a frenzy of pogoing. Actually it was one of the best atmospheres for a gig I’d been to in ages – the place was a little over half full but everyone was crowded down the front bouncing to the beats.

Drop The Phone was the epitome of twitchy, shouty jerk-pop and Noise Won’t Stop is the sort of taut electronic funker that Timbaland wouldn’t be ashamed to rip off and call his own. Elsewhere they kept the energy up and the crowd moving with constant invention and more hooks than (er, a pirate convention? Tackle-box? Changing room?) a boxing match, packing just as much punch.

The set-closer was recent single Summer and it was a stunner. The poppy original was stretched out, beefed up and pulsated like a right little monster. The crowd needed no further invitation and gave back as good as they got. An excellent show – definitely recommended.

Published by Chris Unitt

I work at One Further, doing digital projects with cultural organisations. Follow @ChrisUnitt or find me on LinkedIn.