Show Review: Klaxons at Lido 12/11/14

klaxons_2014A mid-autumn mist tangled itself around the muted amber of Schlesische Strasse last Wednesday night as London’s beloved space-pop jewel Klaxons prepared for takeoff in the wings of Lido. Declared to be the group’s final tour as the current Klaxons incarnation, the night was tinged with a heady nostalgic hue; it’s been almost eight years, after all, since the release of the (inter)stellar debut, “Myths of the Near Future,” and the trajectory from that initial blast has since followed a dazzlingly exponential curve.

The show boasted another facet that brightened the spotlight on its rhinestone surfaces—that of it being the world’s first “3D-printed tour.” A collaboration with 3D-printed guitar company Customuse and a cluster of dedicated experts from the University of Sheffield, the endeavor aimed to create the entire sonic setup (including guitars, keyboards, amps, microphones, and lights) through a 3D-printing process. The end result may not have been especially spectacular in the visual sense (the drum kit, for example, looked as though it had simply been coated in white paint); conceptually, however, this admirably ambitious stretching of our earthly technological sphere could hardly have suited another band more so than Klaxons.

The band, while planting its feet fairly firmly on the iridescent crust of Planet Pop, has constantly managed to distinguish itself by playing with dark, off-kilter melodies and jilted rhythms that rattle and whirl like the innards of an interstellar ship.  The set launched directly into futuristic chaos with “Atlantis to Interzone,” the opening track of “Myths of the Near Future.” These much-loved nostalgia drops were revisited throughout the set; “Magick” was a definite highlight with its laser-sharp, almost apocalyptic drive-and-wail, as was “Golden Skans,” a soaring singalong among circling stars.

Klaxons possesses a fantastically contagious onstage energy. Years roll back as the members leap about the stage, earnestly appealing to the audience with wide eyes and open palms. On this occasion, the crowd on the receiving end of the gesture was remarkably sparse and filtered oddly so that the mass became denser toward the back rims of the room, as though it were a sonic bathtub and somebody had dropped a weight in the center. Considering it was likely the band’s final appearance in the capital, the impression it etched was slightly bittersweet. Perhaps the most magical moment of the night was when a young fan, who had been tightly gripping a length of canvas in her fists for the duration of the show, threw a beautifully painted portrait of the band members onstage. They were visibly moved, and her token of affection was a saving grace.

The set also featured a generous smattering of tracks from the recently released LP “Love Frequency,” and the renditions were impressive, breathing a flame into the songs that lacks on the recorded output. Riddled with high-profile collaborations (including Chemical Brother Tom Rowlands, Erol Alkan, and James Murphy), and three years in the making, the record is a curiously lackluster offering, glazed with an over-popped sheen. Interestingly, and perhaps positively in terms of the health of the band’s continually blossoming fan base, these were also the tracks that had the front row chanting most spiritedly in chorus. “There Is No Other Time” burst from the stage in all of its unashamed glittery pride like a pop peacock feather, Klaxons flaunting a newly-found slick amongst the mayhem of the band’s early output.

A generous encore secured the increasing momentum of the evening and brought the orbit to a satisfying close, the Klaxons comet leaving a shimmering trail in its wake.

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