Power Lunches – November 26th
Three things are certain on a visit to Power Lunches: you will get sweaty, your ears will ring and, on at least one occasion, you will mistake your own reflection in the mirrored walls for another, practically-identical person on the other side of the room. Tonight is no exception on all accounts, starting with the gangly fuzz of Denmark’s Baby In Vain, where the riffs reign. The dreamier elements of their on-record racket is wrapped in tumbling distortion live, with the garage stomp of ‘Muscles’ landing with added heft thanks to the tight twin-guitar attack. Puppy are sonically muscular but settle in too soon for a no-surprises, steady set. Sometimes less is more, and while ‘The Great Beyond’ benefits from the slick production the alt nuance of ‘Forever’ suffers, lost in chunky guitars and layered cymbals.
By comparison, Kagoule remain endearingly rag-tag. This year’s debut Urth provided a refreshing take on the oft-dreary alt rock genre, and tracks like ‘Gush’ and ‘Glue’ gain a cutting urgency live. Stage chatter is kept to a minimum (surely an extension of the understated attitude permeating their music) but it’s clear that their relentless touring schedule is paying off with bigger, more enthusiastic crowds. The set isn’t without hiccups. Lucy’s toilet break mid-set triggers a lukewarm jam with another bassist plucked from the crowd, killing their momentum. It’s luck, then, that they have a track like ‘Made Of Concrete’, with a chorus as heavy as its namesake, to rescue their endgame, leaving a monstrous ‘It Knows It’ to send the audience out the door with a knockout slab of 90s alt nostalgia.