Friday, 24 October 2008

Pop Polaroids:Black Kids at Birmingham Academy

This was a night that seemed far more surprising for the band than it did for the audience:

2 songs in: "This is our first time in Birming-ham, please be gentle"

3 songs in: "Wow... what day is this? Wednesday? This is a Wednesday night! You people sure are wild"

This comment acted as a call-to-arms to the crowd, prompting the band to play the rest of the set with a expressions veering between concern and a blank lack of understanding as a circle opened a few feet from the stage into which overexcited 14-year-olds and one really fucked man in his thirties and, inexplicably, a white vest threw themselves.

This could be interpreted as a physical response to the truly awful support in the shape of the Magistrates - with anger only intensified by the absence of promised support act Ladyhawke, to whom the Magistrates vapid falsetto-pop was an insult.

On the other hand it could be seen as a misguidedly positive response to the headliners, whose chunks of synth-drenched 80s influenced pop were just as lively as they are on record. Siblings Reggie and Ali Youngblood (vocals and guitars, and keys and backing vocals respectively) provide the main force of the band's live show, performing with the enthusiasm of true stars, with the rest of the band paling in comparison. "I'm Not Gonna Teach Your Boyfriend How To Dance With You" was the tune of the night, the sound of an original Cure tribute - timely as Robert Smith's seminal outfit are about to receive an NME Godlike Genius Award. Are the Black Kids just 80s revivalists riding a fashionable wave? From the evidence of the first album, yes - but it is a thrilling wave nonetheless.

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