Have we ever had it so good? Panda Kopanda are back, joining a growing list of local acts who have achieved the landmark of an album release.
Judging from the set played, they deserve to be in this company. Material from 'This Hope Will Kill Us' comes over well. 'A Humble God' and 'Carry You Home' stand out as catchy guitar-driven songs which engage. There's a hint of Snow Patrol and something of Desert Hearts without the darker edges, overall a fresh and interesting sound. Check out the ATL sessions.
The Pandas seem to be in the habit of playing 'Vienna' on stage at the moment. Their cover refreshes a tired old song with a fair bit of kick. An initially sparse crowd has filled out through the set, and applauds and whoops them off.
Asobi Seksu spend a minimum of time taking the stage. The bassist throws a string of lights over an amp. Yuki Chikudate rearranges them from a heap into a drape and returns to her keyboard, front of stage. Bass guy tosses them into a heap again. Artistry has merit, but he wants somewhere to put his bottle.
Asobi Seksu are incredible musical magpies, taking glittering bits of this and that from a swathe of sources, but the sound is stamped with their own unique creativity. Power pop, electronica, rock and all parts between are there. You might well start picking out the influences but the end product is more than enough to carry you away in the glorious surge of sound.
It's rich, it's lush, it's always interesting and it rocks. Material from the new album 'Hush' is heavily featured. 'Mary and Me' is punchy, wistful pop, Blondie brought up to date. Songs like 'Familiar Light' have layers of sound with something of the sweep and grandeur of Sigur Ros in miniature.
The front of the Speakeasy breaks into dancing while the main body stand entranced as Asobi sweep through the gig. It's over all too soon, the fact that time seemed to go by unnoticed always the sign of a good show.
A short encore ends with Yuki abandoning the keyboard to take her intensity out on the drum kit. It's tempting to think that this is revenge, but it's just a bit of stagecraft to end the night with a bang.
A memorable show.