Live Reviews

Forward Russia Live

London Garage

The Garage is renowned for being something of a sweat-box, but never more so than for a sold-out show on such a hot day as today; with the temperature inside this small north London venue resembling that of a sauna. It’s perhaps unsurprising, then, that most of tonight’s action takes place on the well-ventilated stage, whilst the majority of the audience sink into a heat-induced stupor.

Except, that is, for a young man who dances like a deranged grasshopper for the duration of The Scare’s set. He clearly knows a good band when he sees one; in this case, an Australian quintet that resemble the 80’s Matchbox B-Line Disaster if they’d derived inspiration from Gang Of Four records and bad speed comedowns. After half an hour of exhilarating art-funk mayhem, they exit abruptly, leaving us feeling that support slots like these will soon be very much beneath them.

Youthmovie Soundtrack Strategies’ swirling, expansive sound certainly suits the increasingly soporific conditions. Like The Scare, they’re largely unknown to the crowd, but have a few devoted fans down at the front. A half-hour set is far too short for a band of their ilk, but the intricacy and atmosphere of songs like ‘Archive It Everywhere’ mark them out as ones to watch.

Forward Russia bound onstage in their trademark matching t-shirts, and get the funk-punk disco party started. Singer Tom is his usual hyperactive self, howling into the faces of the front row as his band’s taut rhythms and scratchy guitars whip the crowd into action. The band recently released a stunner of a debut album in ‘Give Me A Wall’, and the bizarrely-titled likes of ‘Thirteen‘ and, er, ‘Fifteen‘ sound even more impressive in the live setting, demanding that you get up and dance.

Alas, by now, the conditions in the venue have become unbearable, to the extent that many people leave before Forward Russia’s set ends. It seems that the venue’s shortcomings have hindered what should have been a storming show by one of the UK’s most promising bands.

Alex Gosman