Monday, 4 April 2011

john maus @ mono, 29th march

here's a review of last week's rather wonderful cry parrot gig...

The loop pedal artisan is becoming a busy genre in its own right, but Remember Remember’s Graeme Ronald, performing solo tonight, is comfortably ahead of any curve you care to plot. His layered compositions are more mille-feuille than thick-tiered sponge – airily structured and never clagging. The only disappointment is the length – three songs feels frustratingly brief.

Plug are tonight’s unknown quantity, neither local nor niche icon. By the time they finish they should be firmly stamped on Mono’s collective consciousness: the duo’s curbed aesthetic turns synths, drums and vocals into something fresh and vibrant, with highlight Body Song resembling Le Tigre covering DJ Shadow’s Blood On The Motorway.

John Maus, meanwhile, is John Maus: eccentric, irregular and brilliant in all the expected ways. Maus takes the total kinetic energy expelled by the average band during a ninety minute gig, and condenses it into one juddering body and half an hour. His performance style exists somewhere between Limmy’s eckied dad minus the heartbreak, and a cake-clad kid on his birthday (post-sugar rush, pre-teary adrenalised tantrum). The song being played at any particular time is irrelevant: whether Do Your Best’s melancholic ballad or the jittery pace of Maniac, Maus gives it laldy. Two parallel but opposed tempos exist: the tempo of the synth-based, romantic-oddball alt-pop coming through the speakers, and the somewhat heightened tempo of Maus himself. His set flares briefly, but that’s for the best – think of the man’s heart.

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