Junior Boys @ Luminaire 10/08/06

Two years on from their debut LP, and with album number two soon to come on new label, Domino, The Junior Boys made their live UK debut. The Luminaire, not the largest of venues was an odd choice, especially with a weighty guest list in action and they could have sold out it out several times over.

Its the first time I’ve actually made it to The Luminaire despite hearing rave reviews and it getting London venue of the year last year, but I’ll definitely be returning for more. As a lanky sod I especially appreciated the fact that in front of the dancefloor area just before the stage they have a mini pit. A guilt free front row position, without ruining the gig for the poor unfortunate 5ft lass that invariably stands behind me kicking my shins.

A trip to the gents (or ladies for that matter) also reveals another quirk… the stage is completely open to the audience at one side. If you came out of the toilet and turned right to the dancefloor too early you’d literally walk out on stage..no steps, no barrier, no security. “Tonight we have a very special guest with us..erm no we’ve no idea who this is… but he appears to have pee’d on his shoes“.

It was from stage side that I watched the slightly deranged but superbly entertaining support, Metronomy. Joseph Mount aka Metronomy along with backing band “The Food Groups” have been gathering plaudits since last years “Pip Paine (Pay Back The £5000 You Owe)” coupled with some excellent nob twiddling remix work. Their slightly eccentric geeky presentation is endearing, and put a broad smile on most of the crowd. Lined up behind their technology they each sport a large round white light in the middle of their chests, which can be hit to turn on and off. Somewhere in the depths of my cupboard is a tshirt with an equaliser on the front that bounces up and down in response to sound. Its so painfully geeky I’ve barely worn it, if I’d know I’d be amongst friends I’d have dragged it out specially!
With more choreographed moves than a Pipettes gig, each number sees a variety of flailing limbs usually revolving around switching their chest lights on and off. For one track all three grab guitars building up a fantastic riff while simultaneously showing what the Shadows might have looked like had Hank Marvin grown up listening to Kraftwerk, at the same time as frantically flicking their chest lights. All I can say is don’t ever challenge Metronomy to a game of Simon Says!

The low down dirty Stooges style guitar riff and cymbal crashes of “You Could Easily Have Me” gets the crowd moving while the wobbly synth melody has the ones not moving humming along. Some of the tracks sound like they are crying out for a vocal to finish them off, but most dont hang around long enough to notice this. They even survive the curse of many a “leftfield” group, a melodica led track with aplomb. The mental off kilter marching sound of “Black Eye, Burnt Thumb” turning out to be one of the highlights with a sound like Ryuichi Sakamoto being held up by a Mariachi band. With sax’s thrown over glitch style beats, synchronised dance moves, wobbly hook lines, and at one point bizarre pigeon noises. I could just imagine The Junior Boys sat off stage thinking “how the fuck do we follow that!

Metronomy Website / Myspace

MP3: Metronomy “You Could Easily Have Me (MP3)

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Headphonesex who have been bigging up Metronomy for ages are sharing a tasty remix.

Buy: Order the album direct from Holliphonic.

Video: Metronomy’s Oscar Cash doing an Air Geetar Dance (YouTube).

Junior Boys
Newly signed to Domino Records, The Junior Boys have upped the lushness and pop quota from their debut album, Domino have taken to calling them “pioneers of New MOR” in press releases… which to me makes them sound like a bad thing! As far as pigeon holes for their sound, its more Hall & Oates meets house than as the Guardian put it “Talk Talk produced by Timbaland” (well I cant hear a trace of Mr Mosley anyway).

Their set almost succumbed to terrible sound problems, taking an age to get started and then finally getting underway accompanied by a loud humming, which Jeremy attempted to root out before declaring “Oh fuck it who gives a shit, lets go“. They also seemed to be being deafened by the bass throughout, and when the equipment wasn’t failing fellow Junior, Matt Didemus cued up the wrong song on his Macbook with “Like A Child” almost getting a double airing. The final straw came when Jeremy’s guitar suddenly stopped working altogether leaving him to sardonically quip “Hey, no worries – guitars are shit anyway!

Junior Boys
Its a real shame that all the technical hitches never quite allowed them to get into any rhythm, and the drummer occasionally seemed to get out of time with the backing tracks. Good pop songs do however remain just that, and by the last few numbers they were starting to build up a head of steam that hints better may be to come when they support Hot Chip in November. Jeremy resplendent in a Martin Bell white suit also warmed up as the night went on, and his rich vocals moved up a notch when he dispensed with his jacket, and started to deliver lines with a bit more welly.
The encore of “Under the Sun” was gorgeous, with the epic sound punctuated by bursts of guitar not present on the recorded version or as K-punk more eloquently put it… “it was never one of my favourite tracks on Last Exit, but live it has a driving, widescreen sweep that recalls Simple Minds’ New Gold Dream at its most epic…“.

Browsing through blogs and forums its seems that the reaction to the show was generally good, with the exception of the affore mentioned sound problems, and what posters on the dissensus forum referred to as “Luminaires disease”… i.e. Liggers, and idiots talking throughout the show despite prominent signs stating this is a music venue not a pub please shut up. Stelfox summed it up best:

had to tell the guy behind me yammering on about his coke dealer very loudly right the way through the first song to shut the fuck up or leave the room, then when i went to the bar you could hardly hear the jbeez for all the self-important waffle going on.

Junior Boys Website / Myspace

Pics: Failme’s excellent flickr set of photos / My pics of the night
MP3: The Junior Boys – “The Equalizer(MP3)
Buy: Preorder the new album from Domino for £8.99 with a free mix CD & badge.