Arcadian Kicks’ opener ‘Your Blood’ had sonic slabs of monolithic splendour fusing in to psyche-shifting dreamscapes driven by brain-skewering keyboards. Meanwhile, guitarist, Thomas Halloway’s Sigour Ros-like volcanic effects, were joy to behold. Welcome to a simmering, New-Rage, sepulchral retro synthesis of Siouxsie shrill gothic angst and primal ecstasy – vocally fronted by the crucially slick, chic Becky Wilson. With her uber-cult cool caps-fonted 60s dress and Daryl Hannah’s Replicant ‘Blade Runner’ character, Pris’ blonde bob coiffeur and epileptic applied panda black eye-shadow – it’s time to update the website kids. http://www.myspace.com/thearcadiankicks.‘Ghosts’ was an study in feral New Romantic, synth-pop iconoclasm that was insistently and invasively addictive. Rebekah Pennington on keyboards/backing vocals compliments Ms. Wilson with cascades of Botticellian blonde tresses that she tosses demurely aside to keep a Devil’s pact with her smokin’ sax. Hmm, nice!
‘Black and White’ was a rapid, rabid monster beat-up with apocalyptic drum patterns (Harry Grainger) about to go Nuclear plant melt-down only to be exacerbated by Tommy Kelly’s finger-splintering bass lines that suggested he was about to drink the uranium fuel-rod coolant and then piss it on Satan’s fuse-box. And so much more and then some. A confident, incisive and intelligent band that any Festival alt.event marquee promoter should prostrate themselves as not worthy to showcase them. Just you wait.
Setlist: Your Blood, Ghost, Homesick, Six Months Ago, Black & White, Take This Over.
The Moons’ Hare & Hounds flyer/poster draws on the iconic graphic imagery of seminal 60s rock venues such as The Roundhouse, The Fillmore Stadium and, not least Birmingham’s celebrated cauldron of Underground/Progressive rock aristocracy, Mothers. This gig was part of the band’s ‘Tales of the Unexpected Tour’, a wry homage to the 70s schlock-horror TV serious. Now, given The Moons’ milieu, promising the unexpected is a somewhat contrary tease. Nevertheless, it’s an irresistible invitation.
‘O, swear not by the moon, the inconstant moon/That monthly changes in her circled orb/Lest that thy love prove likewise variable,’ So says Juliet in reply to Romeo’s Garden of Eden deceptive trouser-snake wooing promises. And likewise, in a world of fleeting inconsistencies, one thing remains constant: the capacity for the You Tubetopian womb to gestate evermore interpretations and reincarnations of the 60s music retro reality-shift fantasies. Which for good or even better, The Moons celebrate in abundance given that it’s spectacular lunar eclipse tonight to boot.
Singer/guitarist, Andy Croft, in suspect side-burns and Carnaby Street barnet sports a de-rigueur Paisley shirt whilst the rest have strictly from The Byrds: guitars, jackets, hair and an alt/psychedelic/indie groovy mojo. Their latest eponymous album features their iconic ‘Ready, Steady Go’ referenced motif artwork signature: time-machine transported and fresh. Croft is a solid set fellow and could well be John Enwistle’s love-grandchild – sort of New Kid from The Ox, so to speak. Great vocalist and balls-in-the-vice tight rhythm guitar playing.
The set kicks off with ‘Forever Came The Day’ and within a few seconds of its tiger-feet purring, beat-snapping chords and reverb riffy-hippy rock I’m all putty. And! Some of them are wearing ties. ‘Let It Go’ had a cocky swagger with its pizzicato, choppy riffs and ominous, swirly ghost-train tremors. The whole set shimmered in a ambience of 60s cyphers and phantom references passing by the corner of your eye. Accomplished harmonies, paint-stipper riffs, and suggestions of pharmaceutically (possibly) induced meandering in to the scented vats of Zombies, Syd Barrat and Country Joe And The Fish are to be embraced with relish. The Moons chase ghosts from reactionary complacency. Go and see them, you know you want to. Credit to the band for participating in a collaborative ebay auction of album art works.
Setlist: Forever Came Today, Let It Go, Be Not Me, Revolutionary Lovers, Torn Between Two, Someone, English Summer, Chinese Whispers, Don’t Go Changing, Double Vision Love, Nightmare Day, It’s Taking Over, The Ragman.
Review – John Kennedy
Photos – Ian Dunn