The Shout Out Louds, Air Castles

Miss Fliss 22/09/2010

The lack of security down the front tonight means some young buck thinks he can spark up a cigarette if he crouches down. This doesn't go down well with the guy next to him who makes his complaint known - the reaction is the loudest shouting I've ever heard at any gig (it's loud enough that every single sweary word can be heard over the live music set and I'm surprised the band don't notice). Violence seems impending, but somehow within a couple of minutes a sudden embrace takes place between the two. What perverse goings on for an indie-pop gig!

Let's not wonder what was in that cigarette and move on to the music, for that ought take centre stage. And after this incident, everyone can relax enough for it to do so (though I can't help but bite my lip in a sort of glee at the irony as Tonight I have to Leave it soars into the set).

The Shout Out Louds make gently, wistful melodic music that would be more obviously done slow and thoughtfully introspective. Instead they take the brilliant route of hetting things up with rhythmic propulsion and volume. This is sad, somehow soaring, dancing music. There are vibrant, pop-cute Cureish keyboards, and nods to The Smiths albeit with a tinge of flamenco style.

On record, there is an element of elated energy to songs, though I never quite imagined to see people dance with so much vim. Cadence is the key: castanets, maracas, wood blocks, jingle sticks, cowbells, drums. It's wonderful seeing the band's keyboardist dance around with punctuality, letting her array of percussion instruments fit in with her movements and with the live drums.

The sound wasn't quite on to begin with, but picked up later. It wasn't the ideal venue as The Garage now has a knack of overfilling the building to the point where you feel uncomfortable and ill and wonder what health and safety would have to say, plus there was an array of sleazy men that I thought were just a one-off at the metal gig I came to here last year. Just to reiterate for those who can't grasp it: it remains completely unacceptable to grab the body parts of women you've never met before. I'm talking about men who curve their whole arm around the inner curve of your waist as they brush past, or pat you on the arse as they weedle their way to the toilets. It's grim, it's tantamount to violation, and it's not on, so stop it. It really makes me second think about going to gigs - this sort of caveman shit should have died out in another era. Why should I not be allowed to go to gigs with other females, or alone, without being accompanied by my boyfriend, and risk being treated this way? Makes me want to wear steel-toe boots. I'll definitely be raising awareness with the venue about their failings in security on many levels tonight and the unnacceptable behaviours. There was no one to inform on the night but the bar staff and the poor people were snowed under as it was and so desperate for breaks they were spilling drinks and giving out wrong change.

The Shout Out Louds were greeted with as much aplomb as if they were headline heroes - who knew they were such a hit when still so relatively small? The atmosphere was celebratory, with perhaps a strong contingent of Scandinavians supporting their homeland musical talents. And Sweden has much to boast. I've said it before, but there is an inimitable sense of shimmering melody, wistfully yet blissfully happy sad emotion, and real conquering of pop splendour at work with their indie bands. Though this was far from the perfect gig for me, I've got to love The Shout Out Louds and Swedish indie pop for that.