Ladytron Live Review: May 15, Astoria

London Astoria
May 15, 2008
Tonight is Ladytron’s first London date in some time, and a first time for the capital to hear tracks from he scintillating Velocifero live. The Liverpool-based foursome wase no time in airing Velocifero’s innards, they kick off with the trio of opener, Black Cat, first single Ghosts, and my highlight so far, Runaway. Warm yet distant, the new tracks exand Ladytron’s palette slightly, building on the more organic sound of 2005’s triumphant Witching Hour. A shame, then, that the sound in the Astoria is abysmal. Vocals drowned out by machine hum, bass lost amid a sea of mid-range. Biggest casualty is the opening of Black Cat, an intricate build to a delightful vocal break from Mira in her native tongue, bludgeoned by an unhelpful mixing desk.

The sound mess-up slowed the band’s momentum, as the opening triumvirate of newies segued well into older classics such as Seventeen, rendered tonight a breakneck speed. Live, the band have a strange sort of energy, almost mechanical. The new record certainly bears this out, a move towards their live sound. Older tracks are almost completely transformed, Blue Jeans moves towards the Stooges riff that drives at its heart. Something was clearly disrupting the band though, glances shot across at the mixing desk. And lo, roughly seven tracks in, clearly narked by the techical mishaps the band ceased. They only re-appeared to apologise and reassure that we’d see them again for a re-run. Somewhat ironically their last track before the fin was Soft Power

Here is what the band had to say on their Myspaz: “Hey, so we just got pulled offstage halfway through our set at the Astoria because the stage power had failed, no mixing desk and monitors. At first we were hopeful they would have a backup or somehow sort it out, but they couldn’t. So besides being fucking annoyed that we didn’t get to play all the set, we’re upset for everyone who travelled to the show and only got half a gig. Again sorry, we were standing there waiting to go back on, only for them to tell us it wasn’t possible. Sellout show and we could only play half. So as far as we aware the show is going to be rescheduled in July with original tickets valid. Hopefully there will be electricity next time, we’re getting in Nikola Tesla to do the power.

July can’t roll around fast enough, some ofVelocifero is just begging to be realised live. Particularly looking forward to Deep Blue and closer Versus. I left obviously disappointed, but also re-assured that the band had managed to engineer the new record’s sound into a live setting, whilst maintaining the precision and affected distance that originally made them so appealing.

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