Gig Review: Clock Opera @ O2 Academy 2
By Glen Keogh on April 19, 2012 in Music
Here’s one for you. A middle-aged man, a flat-peaked cap wearer and two drunken blondes walk into a bar. “What happens next!?” I hear you cry. “Does hilarity ensue?” No, not quite, but these are the odd foundations of the crowd on the first night of Clock Opera’s UK tour in support of their upcoming debut album Ways to Forget.
Stereotypes aside, it was refreshing to attend a show without feeling like I’d wandered into someone else’s party. It could be Clock Opera’s mainstream pop sensibilities which accounted for the diverse audience and considerable airtime on Radio 1 and 6 Music, or perhaps the wise choice of local support.
First up were The Prison Library who had the chance to skim the metaphorical cream off this cultural crop and make a few new fans. They obviously set out with the right idea as their radio-friendly rock was about as aggressive as a stuffed Westie, but for all the acoustic twanging and competent musicianship the lack of bite left five lonely figures adrift on the Academy stage.
Continuing with our doggy theme, The Watchers added a much needed growl to the evening – enough to unite the mismatched audience who eventually started paying attention to what they had paid to see. With a set composed almost entirely of new material, the band have honed their craft and now most songs clock in at around three minutes. Thankfully, this hasn’t diluted what made them special.
There’s more focus on singer Liam Milne’s voice which hit an impressive falsetto in Wreck In Recovery. Their guitarist isn’t let loose to the full Jimmy Page maximum as he much as he might want to be, but the new material displays tight song writing while still treading the same psychedelic vibe which means they remain one of Newcastle’s most impressive live acts.
Hitting the Toon from big old London on the first night of your tour is brave, clever or silly but Clock Opera already seem to have the fan base up here to avoid being taken outside for a Bigg Market lashing.
Their impressively bearded singer looked genuinely enamoured at the decent Wednesday night turnout and spoke with enthusiasm about their upcoming album – with the majority of tonight’s set coming from that record.
You’ve probably heard Man Made on the wireless lately and you’ll realise that these catchy synth mothers have got this ‘electro-pop’ lark nailed. It gives what Everything Everything gave us without being quite as annoying and live we also had the pleasure of seeing the singer and his beard dancing one of the jauntiest jigs this side of sanity.
Some bands hobbled over the type of electro-synth-flashy-glowy equipment which was in use have a tendency to over-egg the pudding. Too many peeps and beeps can spoil the broth, you know. But Clock Opera knew when to be minimal and when to be loud. They didn’t mind leaving space between the vocals, bass and drums and it was for good reason. It meant you could actually hear real words and lyrics.
So good luck to the band on the rest of their tour because they’ve proven that with the right balance of beeps and whirrs you can still make music that’s danceable, exciting and ultimately very uplifting.
- Preview: Clock Opera @ The O2/Independent