Thomas 03/11/2006

Gossip are riding a wave right now, all over the music press (and the Observer!), playing on Jonathan Ross' TV show and getting the Friday slot at a packed Club NME tonight to boot. The queer fanbase that's been with them for years mix with the usual young pups on the piss and a whole load of people only here due to massive indie hit 'Standing in the Way of Control'. Rocking dancefloors for months, it's seen a surge of interest in its namesake parent album and a whole bigger set of stages for Gossip to get the hang of. Or so you'd think. As support to the likes of Le Tigre, they've been playing to 500+ for many a year, and doesn't it show.

Beth Ditto (looking glamorous in a gorgeous silver dress) commands the stage, mocking the crowd's half-arsed “yes, we're alright thank you” and showing her utter contempt for the barrier twixt crowd and stage. Stage left, Brace Paine makes like this year's Nick Zinner only with far better hair and Hannah Blilie plays an uncomplicated kit coolly standing up for the whole set.

Inevitably drawing largely from the current album, it's an entertaining and diverse set. As a three piece with only guitar, vox and drums who don't - as some bands would - go for the full on axe assault, it's lucky Brace is a player cunning enough to lay down a one-string groove fat enough to fill the room. Their unique garage-soul sound, last attempted with far less invention by the BellRays, truly comes into its own on the likes of the punky 'Your Mangled Heart', Brace's floppy fringe a blur. Beth's fullbodied blues holler is the focal point though, whether preaching over the pure disco of 'Listen Up' or belting out “queer love song” 'Coal to Diamonds', half the time while surfing over the hands of the front rows.

They finish, as they should, with a riotous version of 'Standing in the Way of Control', joined by mates busting moves on stage all around them. Towards its end, Beth suddenly finds her underwear heading towards her knees so tears the lot off, tights and all, and flings them into the dancing hordes. They leave the stage with a wave to cheers for more, a celebratory end to a fine night's work. Few bands manage to mix soul, disco, punk and garage together, even fewer manage to do it with style and conviction. Gossip are one such band, and long may they rule.