Saturday, 21 July 2007


Venue: Bedford Esquires
Support: Jakobinarina / Somebody
Reviewer: Phil

Opening to a half-empty club, sitting at the corner of the stage with an accordion on his lap, one-man-band Somebody was nothing short of mesmerising! His affected, heartbroken baritone crooned ‘Give me the strength of a single mother’ over the accordion’s single wheeze. Two songs in, and he picks up an acoustic guitar to pluck out a ballad. Its all very Bright Eyes meets Deathcab for Cutie; songs that are the crafted product of a wordsmith, at once traditional and modern and full of earnest imagery. Then he gets behind a keyboard and synth and it becomes clear what Somebody really wants to do is dance. Less Deathcab and more Postal Service, he smothers his heartfelt songs with pulsing beats, dreamy synths and Latin vibes reminiscent of New Order in the late eighties when they where making records in Ibiza. And it really is astounding music!

Jakobinarina, hailing from Hafnarjordur, Iceland - with six members and boasting an average age of just 16 - storm on stage in an explosion of Joy Division-meets-Sex Pistols riffs at once sounding like Iceland’s answer to Franz Ferdinand and with more European punk energy than the Hives just after they’ve tried on new ties! At one point snarling frontman Gunnar Ragnarsson leaps into the audience with the band's keyboard player and they literally go crazy! The band philosophy seemed to be 'play loud and play fast'. Debut single His Lyrics Are Disastrous imploded like a sledgehammer through a speaker, when Ragnarsson growls ‘leave this Island for good’ we believe him from the pit of his sixteen year old heart. While their standout song was easily Nice Guys Don’t Play Good Music, perhaps because it contained the most melodic moments of their brief, explosive set; a counterpoint to a spiraling storm or teenage punk energy.

Identifying where exactly the Cajun comes from in their band name is a tough one, but not a question worth worrying about for too long. With solid, self assured songs, dexterous guitar work, a six foot blonde in emerald slippers behind the keyboard and a frontman who literally tears the place down: leaping into the audience, twirling a walking stick wildly at the crowd and pulling ceramic tiles from the roof... Cajun Dance Party are simmering with youthful indie energy. Their pop tunes, infused with punk and folk vibes, bring both The Libertines and Larrikin Love to mind along with a host of other indie club legend hopefuls. Deranged frontman Danny Blumberg sung his call to arms from beneath of a mob of curly hair, this five-piece have the tunes to make it to the top and they know it! Debut single The Last Untouchables is no fluke of youthful insanity, these guys know how to write a good song and tonight’s set is literally brimming with them. If they'e lucky, they could be very big indeed.