JAPANDROIDS / PHANTOM THEORY / KEYBOARD CHOIR, 18TH MAY 2010, OXFORD JERICHO TAVERN
Comprised of members of The Evenings and Sunnyvale Noise Sub-Element, and orchestrated by one chap with his back to the audience and arm outstretched in signal, Keyboard Choir are for the most part Fuck Buttons ransacking a Korg factory in search of a tune.
But then, at the very end, the ear-chafing electro terrorism gives way unexpectedly to expansive star-scuffed twinkliness, the tender caress of a robot whose setting has defaulted from angry to amorous. Though in all likelihood that'll probably be the song they've christened 'Death Wank In Toy Town'.
It seems perverse to talk about Winnebago Deal being quiet, but that's exactly what they've been of late - and, what with the demise of fellow two-strong noiseniks and Nightshift favourites 50 Ft Panda, Phantom Theory have clearly sensed a local situation vacant.
In between cranking out riff-roaring beasts that borrow from the weightier end of Nirvana's back catalogue as well as alluding to Kyuss and Queens Of The Stone Age, the duo have managed to find the time to reflect on how hard life must be for multi-millionaire twat Phil Collins, whose daily struggles they pay tribute to in a new song. 'Phil Collins Vs The World' they've called it, but 'Sympathy For The Devil' might have been more appropriate.
The Clash. Crass. Minor Threat. All "true" punk rock is political, right? Wrong. Canadians Japandroids are political only in the very loosest sense of vociferously proclaiming personal freedoms, and are far more emblematic of the real reasons why punk holds such appeal for teenagers in the first place. Namely, that it's fast, loud and as such has considerable potential for annoying parents and neighbours. There are slogans, sure - but they're all about going out, getting drunk and wanting to French kiss some French girls.
Neither, though, are they shallow squeaky-clean corporate-mall-punk dweebs. For a start, they're much too abrasive and loose - even more so live than on what is already a deliciously unrefined record, Post-Nothing. And there's a curious sort of naive but sincere profundity in lyrics like "I don't wanna worry about dying / I just wanna worry about those sunshine girls" ('Young Hearts Spark Fire') and "It's raining in Vancouver / And I don't give a fuck / 'Cos I'm in love with you tonight" ('Sovereignty').
So it's a terrible shame that this turns out to be a case of an irresistible force meeting an immovable object. Guitarist Brian King leaps around on his guitar case, blurs his face with head-shaking, thrashes through a meaty cover of Mclusky's 'To Hell With Good Intentions' but all to no real avail - most of those assembled seem to have come just to gawp. "Is this a school night?", he asks, visibly discouraged. "Every night's Friday night for us", chips in drummer David Prowse cheerily.
And so it is for these two garglers on the elixir of youth, this pair of apostles of the hedonist's credo, whose message does at least spark one not-so-young heart into flame tonight.