Klaxons, Fiction

Sam Lee 18/11/2010

You can tell a lot about a band by their fans. And Klaxons' fans used to have a bit of a reputation for being some of the most irritating around. Never in the history of mankind has anyone combined glow stick glasses, neon outfits and MDMA without suffering terrible consequences - but that never stopped those pesky 'nu-ravers' who, for whatever reason, always seemed to pride themselves on being as luminescent and generally obnoxious as possible. So I approached tonight with a certain level of apprehension, especially given the slightly apathetic reaction that 'Surfing The Void' received when it was released almost three months ago.

However, it seems that as their fans have grown up, Klaxons have done the same. Not only is there barely a glow stick in sight, but the majority of tonight's set is made up of tracks from their latest album - and flippin' Nora, they sound a whole lot better live. Title track 'Surfing The Void' is spasmodic, scuzzy and shouty, while 'Valley Of The Calm Trees' and new single 'Twin Flames' are just as energetic, but more atmospheric. Aided by the fantastic lighting, they throb with a sinister malevolence that seems to be lacking slightly on the album. And it's 'Echoes' that comes as the highlight of the set; bold and expansive, its grandiosity is emphasised enormously when squeezed into such an intimate venue.

But, unsurprisingly, it's Klaxons' older material that generates the most enthusiastic response from the crowd. The opening bars of 'Golden Skans' provoke something pretty close to total euphoria amongst the more animated front half of the audience, while the frenetic 'Magick', accompanied by compulsory seizure-inducing strobe lighting, serves as an unnecessary reminder of how exciting Klaxons really are. And, as if that wasn't enough, 'It's Not Over Yet' sees even the people at the very back of the room singing along in questionable falsetto tones, while the inevitable set closer 'Atlantis To Interzone' is frantic, chaotic and at times bordering on shambolic - yet it remains every bit as electrifying as it was in 2007.

The mere fact that tonight's show wasn't entirely overshadowed by the likes of 'Atlantis To Interzone' and 'Golden Skans' shows just how strong Klaxons' new material really is. Although the production of 'Surfing The Void' dampens some of the raw energy that 'Myths Of The Near Future' had by the bucketload, in a live setting it all falls into place. By pushing their own boundaries Klaxons have undoubtedly developed as a band, and with two Top 10 albums now behind them, the world really is their oyster. Are Klaxons currently better than they've ever been? Well, as strange as it sounds, they probably are.