Moth Club – 29th November
Algiers are an incredible band; skilled, political and starkly original. Staring at the Black Panther banner placed firmly centre-stage there’s two energies in the room: the first a nervous excitement from those who’ve never seen Algiers live before and the second: absolute confidence from the veterans. Collectively, there’s one thought in the air: ‘this is going to be fucking brilliant’.
Before the music starts bassist Ryan Mahan is throwing absolute shapes – it’s like watching a Laban showcase on fast forward (brilliant), drummer Matt Tong (formerly of Bloc Party) settles in and parts his hair just enough to peek at the crowd and guitarist Lee Tesche is so focused he looks almost furious. Lastly vocalist Franklin James Fisher calmly, almost coyly walks on stage looks out at us for a single beat, then it happens. No lead in period, no gentle start – just that phenomenal soulful voice and that onslaught of instruments which cut through every body in the room lands somewhere in our core. The four of them are epic, raging and relentless; what they do together is magic.
Franklin connects to every word, his eyes wild and bright with emotion as his voice fills every crevice in the room. There’s something voyeuristic about watching him, as he wades through some of the more torturous lyrics – grabbing at his hair, slamming tambourines on the floor and holding onto his mic like his life depends on it. He’s so supremely captivating that we can’t physically look away.
Algiers are so good they could make Humpty Dumpty sound like a banger, but they’re better than that. Their commitment to political critique isn’t a sidenote to their music, it’s the lifeblood – we don’t just like Algiers, we respect them, learn from them and are pushed forward by them. Every stomping beat takes the body with it. When ‘And When You Fall’ is played I’m so caught up in the vibe that I nearly march out into Hackney and commence to Parliament. Seeing Algiers live is on a whole other level and you should do everything you can to experience them. This is what the revolution sounds like, don’t get left behind.