SLE’s round-up of the newer bands at 1234
At 1pm Shoreditch Park is mostly populated by press and photographers (the least enthusiastic section of the live music audience). But over in the tiny Rough Trade Shops & Beat Magazine tent the sound of Rayographs is gradually attracting a crowd. Their melodic, yet occasionally grungy and feedback-packed pop makes for a noisy kick-start to the day.
Meanwhile the even smaller Artrocker New Bands tent appears to be running quite severely behind schedule. The place is rammed at first as people force their way in to catch a bit of Arrows Of Love, but gradually the punters realise that the band onstage are not who they’re looking for, and head for the bar instead.
But Blood Music’s shoe-gazey style features gracefully layered guitar lines that prove worth sticking around for. The stage manager soon succumbs to the schedule, though, and wrestles his way to the front to quite blatantly tell them to get off stage. The band respond by ending their set with five minutes of noise-making. Apparently feedback is in this year.
The long-awaited Arrows Of Love play a very loud, very heavy set with distortion set so high it disguises an impressive sense of rhythm. They may well sound better on record.
Over on the main stage the vibe is more casual, laid-back, and drunk. Rainbow Arabia play a wonderfully danceable bunch of songs, with captivating rhythms and just the right amount of samba, as a conga line of drunken women joyfully assembles towards the front.
Next up, Electricity In Our Homes stand dead still onstage wearing matching white shirts, but their music is simply bursting with energy. Their fun, dancey indie pop is by far the catchiest sound of the day so far.
This stage, too, is running late, but Electricity In Our Homes win a battle with the stage manager to play one more song, and with it enthusiasm finally begins to filter into the mindset of this ever-so-trendy crowd.
Back in the now greenhouse-like Rough Trade tent, Sex Beet are attracting serious attention with their riff-filled tracks that swiftly jump from being raucous and heavy to being chilled and melodic.
Fair Ohs rock up next, full of energy, to perform songs featuring Fools Gold-style tropical rhythms, fun bass lines, choppy drums and yelling call and response vocals. They bring a sense of urgency and intensity, but with an added sense of humour that goes down a treat with this thoroughly cheered-up audience.
Outside the Artrocker tent, where Peepholes are playing a fantastic set of noisy, catchy agropop, Lydia Lunch are addressing a somewhat bemused main stage crowd with rants about certain rockstars “Who can’t handle their drugs”. Needless to say, large groups are heading for the more sophisticated atmosphere of Artrocker, where genuinely interesting music prevails.
Over in the dance tent Autokratz are dancing like they’re their own biggest fans. They play quasi-futuristic, semi-epic electronica (i.e. they talk like robots over big synth chords).
Later, ex-Test Icicles guitarist Rory Attwell’s new band, Warm Brains, prove surprisingly disappointing. Where on Soundcloud they had shown some promise, live they sound like a crappy punk band. Again, it might be best to rely on the recorded version for now.
Sponsored by Vice, and held slap bang in the middle of Shoreditch, 1234 ought to represent what the trendy kids are listening to. Turns out what’s cool is punk, feedback, and dance-inducing rhythms. We could do an awful lot worse.
By Sophie Armour