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Mindless Self Indulgence


1

 

Roundhouse


11 July, 2008

 

 

 

1ary Couzen

A review by Allan Taylor for EXTRA! EXTRA!

 

Mindless Self Indulgence (commonly referred to as MSI) is a New York-based band with elements of EDM, punk and industrial rock in their music. Choosing the Roundhouse as one of two UK dates for this tour, the support reflected the electro element of their music whilst stamping their mark at the same time.


Noel Fielding's favourites 'Robots in Disguise' were the first support act, stomping their way through their set as the glamour girls of art-rock. From the heavily ironic 'We're in the Music Biz' to the hit 'Turn It Up', they're the girls who have been forged in the fires of the small gig circuit. With a little more emphasis on punch than in the polish, Robots in Disguise are heavy on the attitude with some great rhythmic beats. A cross between the unique noise of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, the banging of post-punk, the style of a New Romantic harlequin and the kitsch-y camp of Shampoo, they were a fun frolic to start the evening. Although, being at a bigger venue they may have felt the needed to shout a little louder, some fierce control with 'I don't give a f***' sentiment would have set it off.


Second support I AM X (Chris Corner of Sneaker Pimps fame) turned it up a notch with his industrial noise, packed with crunchy synths and strict, forceful drum beats. I AM X had the right balance of everything- from the image of Chris in his military gear, to the great beats with enough guitar to let the audience know he still rocks. A myriad of influences at play here, from the obvious Depeche Mode and Nine Inch Nails to the glamour of Bowie, his subtle references to bisexuality, narcotics and death twist between decadent and dance-y. The mix of filmic projections and random electronic feedback was a great way to heighten the tension before the headliners took to the stage, and yet I AM X could have easily carried the night away himself. Slightly let down by the sound- the engineer who turned the guitars and drums high up I the missed, forgetting that the beauty of I AM X is in the electronics.  


Mindless Self Indulgence took to the stage with a heightened energy and enthusiasm. Starting off with a piece of classical music, Steve Righ? (guitarist) gracefully takes the stage conducting as the piece goes along before bursting into 'Shut Me Up'- strong, fast hardcore drums with hyper-speed guitar and hints of synths going through the song. Little Jimmy Urine leaps onto stage wearing a jacket with tails and the word 'Goodbye' emblazoned across the back, balancing on the drums and leaping about in a fashion between grace and disgraceful.


"I'm going to take a lot of drugs and alcohol and not share them with you because I'm an a**hole" cries Jimmy, trying to invoke some sense of provocation, but the sensationalism and edginess of 70’s punk seems to be all but gone in the (very young) crowd as it all feels a bit too 'safe' to make political statements. The pantomime antics of Mindless Self Indulgence were extremely entertaining, but Jimmy's sentiments seemed to go a bit awry amongst it, with his deprecation towards the audience (apparent even in songs such as 'Faggot' and 'Stupid Motherf***ers')


The graceful Lyn-Z on bass captured my attention as she moved smoothly with the guitar and everything she did seemed to be purposeful. Her chemistry with Kitty (drummer) made for an extremely tight rhythm section. The apt 'Straight to the Video' reinforces MSI's penchant for encouraging people to download (to put M. Night Shyamalan out of business being Jimmy's top priority) and ridiculing their own sense of irony about fame and money.


Speaking of irony, to cap the night off, Ethel Merman's "There's No Business Like Show Business" comes blaring from the speakers. With Jimmy miming along, you can't help but wonder if he secretly loves a bit of the theatricality that is so seriously missed in bands who take themselves too seriously! It is apparent they are the seasoned scenesters who know how to execute a gig.


The techno beats and electronic emphasis of MSI's work may be new to American audiences, but in the UK we take it with a pinch of nu-rave, an industrial dash and a speck of electro-clash. Entertaining, exciting, great live performers and extremely tight and rehearsed, MSI are breaking ground in the rock scene by mixing up a genre that was so averse to the digital revolution. Straying between self-aware and self-centred, it's hard to know where the 'real' sentiment of MSI is, but the clue lies in the name. If you think they are mindless or self indulgent, then they never really pretended to be anything else. How can you argue with that level of honesty?

 

 

For more tour info, go to www.mindlesselfindulgence.com

 

 

 

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