HARRIET: THE FINAL DAY OF DISTORTION

VESTERBRO

Dubbed as the hip and urban centre and where I am staying was todays slice of Copenhagen. First we went for a champagne reception hosted by Founder, silver fox and genius Thomas Fluerquin.
Expect the unexpected. I’ve got to keep slapping myself and remember I am at a 5 day street party and we are told to come to a champagne reception. They must think we are fools! Something smells like polish sausage.

Of course, after cautiously drinking champagne a good looking Danish boy whistles, the crowd is hurried into the main lobby, where 5 women in leotards and wigs are attempting a dance routine. A marching band is behind them on the stairs. It all happened so quickly, glasses were ripped out of hands, the guy carrying the bands flag was tackled to the floor in his hotpants (testicles very much on show) By the women, biting and scratching him. The band integrates into the audience; something crawling on the floor is attempting to bring me down with them. I clung onto a Colum for dear life.

Next the devil bus, the 666, driven by a Rasta and fuelled by Heineken not petrol. Half an hour out the city we arrive at an underground station with a massive amount of land. A 2 hour pop up party proceeds.

We get back on the bus, Felt like we were at the Circ Du Soleil. Tongues waggling, trombone player round my waist, dancers with their hips on turbo speed.

As we dismounted the bus Helle told me they had found out 2 years ago that the adorable Rasta who had driven us there and back, didn’t have a driving licence.

Hey, what happens on the bus, stays on the bus. (Ha!).

ANDY: LEMONADE

I am yet to meet someone that doesn’t like Lemonade. The band and the beverage. Well, that might be pushing it a bit. I’m not all to keen on the drink. I played Lemonade’s recently released sophomore LP Diver to a friend the other week, who exclusively listens to ska and reggae I may add, and even she wanted me to burn her a copy. Of course, I informed her that that was illegal and pointed her in the direction of the nearest record shop. Of course. My point being is that Lemonade’s eclectic blend of dance-floor-ready pop and swooning RnB will win over just about anyone.

Last month the San Francisco-born, Brooklyn-based three-piece released their second full-length to date, titled Diver. After their critically acclaimed self-titled debut in 2008 and the follow up Pure Moods EP in 2010, I was enthusiastically anticipating Diver to see where the band would take their sound. Their first was an exuberant dance record centered around upbeat, busy drum beats with psychedelic house and world influences. Yet Diver sees the band hone their song writing abilities and is all in all a more sophisticated collection of songs. There is more of a focus on melody and catchy synth hooks, rather than the ramshackle dance orientated tracks on their debut.

So it was back to White Heat at Madame JoJo’s in Soho for Lemonade’s first London date in three years. As is with all live shows, the band were considerably late to come on, which only served to heighten the expectation of the crowd. When they finally took to the stage, vocalist Callan Clendenin beckoned those caught unawares at the bar, who believed they had time to grab another beer, to make their way to the dance floor for LP opener ‘Infinite Style’. As Clendenin cooed the line ‘Ecstatic Impressions, overwhelm my senses sometimes’, I knew what he was getting at. They continued with the bouyant pace of ‘Infinite Style’ into ‘Ice Water’, with percussionist Alex Pasternak leading the dancing with brute force and wild moves. The evening highlight, however, was their cool, ice-y sleek RnB hit ‘Neptune’, the first single off Diver. A love song about infidelity on both sides, yet the crowd that came out to see Lemonade at Madame JoJo’s certainly didn’t feel cheated. A fine performance and one that I’m sure they will imitate for those lucky enough to win tickets for Converse’s Represent series at 100 Club in August, supporting SBTRKT and John Talabot no less.

Diver is out now via True Panther Sounds. http://www.truepanther.com/store/releases/diver

STREET SQUAD: LOVEBOX 2012!

WE HIT LOVEBOX… HARD…

You can check out our expolits on Grazia Daily and see Harriet and Mimi on Vogue Online.

LOUIE: The other weekend the Street Squad and I set off to Lovebox with disposables in hand to snap stylish people for Vogue, Elle and Grazia… My Lovebox virginity was broken and it was one of the best weekends I’ve had in a long time!

Highlights: Grace Jones, Chaka Khan, Chic, dancing around on peoples shoulders

and Dalston Superstore + Vogue Fabrics after party’s on Sunday!

Downfalls: How I felt on Monday!

See you next year Lovebox.

SAMI: Expecting the worst weather wise, I turned up in dungarees and wellington boots, but I needn’t have! A glorious day, if a little windy, was had by all. Highlights included bopping around to Little Dragon, and Maverick Sabre on the main stage, as well as watching Mimi and Harriett’s pastel barnets whirl past on the giant carousel. 

Unfortunately I think the expectation of bad weather caused most attendees to opt for substance over style – but not for the streetsquad – we were lauding it up in our finest wares, from booty shorts to bindi’s and back again!

Roll on next year!

HARRIET: This year the English countryside has made a comeback: to London. Not only are we told that the opening ceremony of the 2012 Olympics will feature 70 sheep, 12 Horses 10 chickens, 3 sheepdogs or “Green and Pleasant’ as described by the imagination and creator behind the ceremony Danny Boyle. This years Lovebox gave us a taster of what is to come in terms of scenery and setting for 2012, dubbed as “England’s Year”. On Saturday afternoon at Lovebox the street squad and TIGI Bed Head stormed through the 100,000 strong audience, armed with truant rainbow hair, silly-slash-courageous platformed Buffalos’s and disposable cameras.

The arena and backstage area mimicked that of a bohemian’s garden. Bushes trimmed in the most falic of shapes adorned the hilly lawn, 3 arches draped in lilac and pink flowers hung above you as you walked in. A “W.I” (Women’s Institute) tent with polystyrene “vegetables” were being heavily molestered by the drunken festival goers.

Music Muff Andy (street-squad’s musical connoisseur) glued me to a spot where i was persuaded to watch Little Dragon, her porcine nose and over energetic limbs really captured me.

That was me and mimi done for the day. We queued for hours for the 2 minute thrill of “Helter Skelter”, I nibbled on  a foot long. (Hot dog).  As the sun set and with the prospect of a full moon looming i disappeared into the night.

Lovebox was great, on par with Butlins (which is also great). Would i go again? Maybe Baby.

STEVIE: Lovebox on Saturday was terrific fun, filled with hipsters and muso’s alike, Victoria Park packed out to see a myriad of acts including Friendly Fires, Kelis, Little Dragon, Rita Ora and Emile Sande to name but a few and had some terrific highlights in smaller forms including the Sweet Toof graffitied car, and the african drummer in the smaller tents earlier in the day getting the atmosphere lifted to make way for a cracking day.

ANDY: CHROMATICS

As live shows go, I must admit I was especially excited for this one. I hadn’t seen Chromatics since Benicassim Festival back in 2008, after their first record Night Drive in 2007, and nor had anyone heard much from them. Apart from the occasional appearance on compilations, such as the Italians Do It Better label compilation and most notably on the Drive soundtrack, it almost felt like a long band hiatus. That is until last November, when new audio videos appeared in drips and drabs on Youtube, rough demo versions of untiled tracks, which looking back was something of an luring aperitif for what would be one of the stand out albums of 2012 thus far.

In March, Chromatics released their first full length for nearly 5 years. The dark yet romantically titled album, Kill For Love, inimitably sums up the music on the record; classy and evocative, melancholy and animated, ethereal yet sparse and at moments almost lonely. There are five instrumental tracks out of sixteen on the album, which makes it a good twelve minutes over the ‘dangerous’ hour mark, yet they serve to give the listener breathing space between the more catchy and ultimately accessible synth pop gems of which Kill For Love is peppered with. You could be forgiven for thinking that any record over an hour would test your patience, I will forgive you, and believe me it doesn’t, but not for thinking that it isn’t a brilliant and unique example of contemporary synth pop/disco-punk, because it is. No one ‘does it’ quite like Chromatics ‘do it’.

It was their first London date for a number of years and the first UK appearance of their comprehensive European tour. The small, seedy but stylish space that is Madame JoJo’s seemed like the perfect surroundings for an intimate unveiling of the new record and as the lights dimmed, apart from the twinkling LEDs on the curtain behind the stage, Chromatics entered one by one to the beat of their drum. When Ruth Radelet finally joined the rest of the band onstage, the crowd cheered and hushed almost as instantly as the band began with the opening track from the album, a daring, glistening synth pop rendition of Neil Young’s “Hey Hey, My My (Into The Black)”. They continued effortlessly into “The Page”, “Lady” and “Kill For Love”, barely giving the audience a chance to take stock and appreciate through applause. They played a few tracks from Night Drive and to my delight their rendition of Kate Bush’s classic “Running Up That Hill”, but stuck mostly to their recent effort. It was a stylish and near perfect performance, yet at times they seemed unimpressed with the crowd, who bar the first couple of rows of which I was a member, were as static as Ruth Radelet’s smoldering, expressionless lips.

Chromatics had flown straight from Primavera Festival in Barcelona and were probably relying on the crowd for a pick me up, which they certainly did not get past the third row. The reason for the lack of crowd participation is beyond me because Chromatics sparkled through out. I was lucky enough to catch them again the very next night supporting Neon Indian at the Village Underground. Village Underground crowd, you smashed the Madame JoJo’s crowd.

Kill For Love is out now via Italians Do It Better. http://vivaitalians.blogspot.co.uk/