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Fuck Buttons @ Koko: Live Review

April 22, 2010

Originally posted on The 405

Venue: Camden Koko, London
Date: 20/04/10

One of the more ridiculous conversations I’ve heard in relation to Fuck Buttons went something like this: “Well, Fuck Buttons, it’s just …noise innit?”, with the excellent blunt comeback “Yeah, but, isn’t all music?”. Quite. But what ‘noise’ the London duo do create, having been subject to hefty critical acclaim for both album releases of their electronica sonic masterpieces, and rightfully so. What would be fair to describe as a band embracing the experimental, how would they translate to the auditorium beast that is Koko, one of their largest gigs to date?

Opening with lead track from Tarot Sport in Surf Solar, the duo walk out onto the stage with a smorgasbord of electronic gadgets lined-up, including this toy as posted on Andrew Hung’s Twitter:

New one. on Twitpic

Surf Solar perhaps best sums up their post-rock take utilising all things electronica, and live comes across well, allowing the track to build and build like the primal creature it is, as with on their album, but somehow with more of a purpose when experienced in the flesh. Constantly entranced in their own world, the bobbing pair rarely look up to interact with the audience; this is no criticism necessarily, this concentration I find adds to the powerful mesmeric nature of proceedings. Sprawling epics to get lost in, with Fuck Buttons themselves leading by example.

Older, arguably darker material such as Bright Tomorrow compliments the newer stuff; BT posses a subtle, less dancier vibe, but not a drastic leap by any means so the continuity and flow of the set remain. The visuals/lights of Koko need to be mentioned, with the use of deep colours with dark lighting complimenting the tones of the music.

The statistical one person in the audience who has synethesia would have had a hysterical joyous overload. Thumping organ-vibrating bass is welcomed throughout, as is their delicate, layered and balanced use of heavy sound; the equivalent of a mighty brute-of-a-giant carefully knitting wee matching socks and a hat for a baby.

The audience at times aren’t sure whether to dance and throw hands up in the air at the more euphoric points (such as with Flight Of The Feathered Serpent), or stick to traditional Koko-safe head-nodding; either way, it didn’t particularly matter. Encore Sweet Love For Planet Earth is purely spectacular, an epic hypnotising feast. Andrew Hung and Benjamin Power work in brotherly tandem, drawing out the anticipation before the final ‘kick’ 5 minutes in. One of those cliched spine-tingling moments.

So, did they translate to the vastness of the Koko successfully? Mostly, yes. There is room to grow and develop their live presence; personally, as a keen fan I found it almost spiritually absorbing as described, but for some, especially say a newcomer, may find something more is needed. However, a huge potential for greatness is apparent with Fuck Buttons, and an experience to behold sonically speaking. And that is what a gig is about.

See the entire photographic set here

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