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Oxegen 09 - Phenomenal Handclap Band

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ATL | 20:45 UK time, Sunday, 12 July 2009


Hot Press Stage, Sunday 12th July, 3.00pm

Describe in a Tweet: Every genre of music sellotaped together.

What happened: Seven people run onto the stage and grab various instruments. Then for the next ten minutes or so, we are taken on a voyage through time and space.

Hailing from New York, The Phenomenal Handclap Band are one of those acts it would be impossible not to have an opinion on. Five boys and two girls, each member clearly has their own thing going on, from vocalist Joan Tick's icily beautiful stance, to guitarist Quinn's psychedelic hippie look (resembling, if anything, Robyn G Shiels decked out in 1967 San Francisco gear, whilst wearing a curly blonde wig). The sound is similarly idiosyncratic, with funk bass mixing with bubbling electronics, garage rock guitar, and group harmonies. 

Whatever you want to call it, it's absolutely irresistible, prompting outbreaks of booty shaking at an early stage in the proceedings. This is irrepressibly 'happy' music, every note sounding joyous and triumphant, and possessing an 'arms open to the universe' kind of vibe. And when they really tear into it, they are absolutely fearsome, riffs and solos grinding against each other, whilst the beat just keeps on keepin' on.

At times, it's hard to work out whether this is completely amazing, or completely ridiculous, but ATL has surrendered unconditionally to it, and is not ashamed to say that it was caught getting it's groove thang on. In outer space, baby.

This is a high: '15 to 20' - never has a song made counting so much fun.

This is a low: The guitarist's trousers were a bit suspect. As was his shirt. And I should know, having been seen wearing questionable clothing myself.

Oxegen rating: 8/10


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