Category: Live Reports (Page 2 of 36)


With DESIRE, GLÜME and CLUB INT’L having done their bit for Italians Do It Better at Fabric a few days earlier, it was the turn of MOTHERMARY, LOVE OBJECT and JOON for a second label showcase at the trendy Laylow in London’s Notting Hill.

A four floor establishment with a restaurant frequented by the likes of George Clooney, Kate Moss and David Beckham plus a basement music venue, a mortgage was required for a couple of drinks at Laylow.

But the financial pain was soothed almost immediately by DESIRE front woman Megan Louise on the decks playing Giorgio Moroder’s ‘Chase’. Throughout the evening, the Italians Do It Better President provided an enjoyable soundtrack of Italo disco, electroclash, techno and French New Wave between acts that was discerning and hip but not too cool for school, a lesson that could be learnt by other DJs.

Almost a homecoming having studied music technology in London, Maltese producer Yasmin Kuymizakis gave her first gig in the capital as her alter-ego JOON. Appropriately opening with the brilliant ‘Good Times’, Kuymizakis left her workstation to join the audience for an impromptu sing-song.

Her optimism and joy set the tone for a performance featuring a number of songs from her debut album ‘Dream Again’. The blippy pop of ‘ET’ came complete vintage horror film Theremin tones yet had people dancing while despite playing with drones, the quirky instrumental ‘I.You’ provoked a few smiles. The final song of the set was the huskily voiced ‘Worse Things’ which had been due to appear on ‘Dream Again’. But it had now been reworked from its ‘Just Can’t Get Enough’ origins into something more clubtastic.

So well received was JOON’s performance that the audience demanded not one but two encores. Kuymizakis obliged with a pair of works-in-progress of which, the first was very promising despite having sections that had not yet been completely worked out.

Russian duo LOVE OBJECT first appeared on the Italians Do It Better compilation ‘After Dark 3’ and came out with their debut album ‘New Flesh’ on the label at the end of 2021. Comprising of singer Dasha Utochka and producer Danya Mu, an erotic overtone lingers over LOVE OBJECT, perhaps not surprising as Utochka co-founded ‘Areola’, a publication whose mission statement is “To help people become more liberated and freethinking!”.

LOVE OBJECT’s ethos is to challenge control so their stark neo-industrial was fitting. After opening with a cover of Madonna’s ‘Frozen’, Utochka’s vocals were delivered mostly in her native language. The doom laden hip-hop of ‘Virus’ was on point with its apocalyptic rap of truths while ‘Object Of Desire’ included a short narrative from Mu before Utochka took over like Miss Kittin reciting Cyrillic script. Closing with their best song ‘Transparent Woman’, this speedy slice of tech-pop made the most of its percolating percussive metallics.

Inspired by the Prayer of the Blessed Virgin, the striking MOTHERMARY are like real-life ‘Twin Peaks’ characters, the backstory being that twins Elyse and Larena Winn escaped their strict Mormon family upbringing in remote Montana and uprooted to Brooklyn. “Women can be mothers and nurturing and caring and smart, and we also get to have f***ing sex drives” MOTHERMARY said in the press release for their debut album ‘I Am Your God’ released at the start of 2022.

Religious imagery is a recurring theme in the Winn’s sexually charged music as they channel their collective repression to confront patriarchy. Taking to the stage from the audience in red veils to the ominous tones of ‘Devils’, MOTHERMARY formally began their London premiere with the bubbling electro R’n’B of ‘Give It Up’. Removing their veils to reveal black leather coats, ‘Pray’ made references to a “sacrificial offering” over an acid house squelch, while the twins declared “We’ll pray for you…”

Photo by Belle Piec

Disrobing to latex basques and thigh length boots for the Schaffel driven ‘Catch Fire’, MOTHERMARY toasted themselves as “the cult to end all cults”. No stranger to the songs of Madonna Louise Ciccone having covered ‘Like A Prayer’ on ‘I Am Your God’, their live version of ‘Like A Virgin’ illustrated more vividly, the haunting anguish and subsequent emotional rebirth behind the Tom Kelly / Billy Steinberg composition. Meanwhile ‘Coming For You’ provided a sinister stalker-like statement of devotion, before the set culminated in ‘Burn With Desire’ and a performance of ‘Like A Prayer’ itself.

It was another enjoyable evening of music, where each artist had their own considered style of presentation. Assorted emotions were conveyed across varied interpretations of electronic pop and held together by the brand identity of Italians Do It Better. Avoiding the “see if it sticks” approach of other independent labels, there was a distinct curated quality behind it all.

Special thanks to Frankie Davison at Stereo Sanctity

Information on Italians Do It Better releases can be found at


Text by Chi Ming Lai with thanks to Belle Piec
Photos by Chi Ming Lai except where credited
16th November 2022


After a successful first outing in 2021, The Pitchfork Festival London was back to present a variety of established and newer acts with various curated themes at venues across the capital including The ICA and Roundhouse

On the final day of the almost week long festival, the renowned superclub Fabric hosted a showcase by cult US electronic music label Italians Do It Better featuring DESIRE, GLÜME and CLUB INT’L.

The label was co-founded in 2006 by Johnny Jewel who continues to run the label to this day with partner-in-crime and the face of DESIRE, Megan Louise. Best known for once being the home of CHROMATICS, the profile of Italians Do It better was boosted a number of key soundtrack inclusions, notably the 2011 Ryan Gosling film ‘Drive’ which featured ‘Tick Of The Clock’ by CHROMATICS and ‘Under Your Spell’ by DESIRE.

More recently, Italians Do It Better has expanded its roster and signed a number of acts from all around the globe including JOON, LOVE OBJECT and MOTHERMARY who were present at Fabric to support their colleagues, but also to play at their own showcase at Laylow later in the week.

Opening proceedings were CLUB INT’L, essentially the vehicle of multi-instrumentalist John Eatherly but tonight, he has been accompanied on stage by co-vocalist and self-styled “Movie Character” Logan Avidan.

The photogenic couple looked like they finished a Jean Luc-Godard film and had music to match with a twist. Highlights included the shoegazey single ‘Ride’ and an appealing rendition of ‘The Tide Is High’, the reggae tune originally by THE PARAGONS made famous by BLONDIE.

The fashionable crowd waited in anticipation for GLÜME, the “Walmart Marilyn Monroe” whose 2021 debut album ‘The Internet’ unexpectedly gained worldwide traction and was praised by alternative artists such as Daniel Graves of AESTHETIC PERFECTION.

On stage, she showed her endearing vulnerability performing autobiographical songs such as ‘Child Actor’, ‘Body’ and ‘Nervous Breakdown’ but it was the new material premiered from the upcoming sophomore album like ‘Do Me A Favor’, ‘Main Character’ and ‘Surgery’ that impressed.

Playing on her Norma Jeane Mortenson parachuted into Twin Peaks persona, there was a playful Marilyn cover in ‘After You Get What You Want’ from the 1954  musical ‘There’s No Business Like Show Business’.

The Gary Numan meets LADYTRON styled ‘Get Low’ got the audience participating in an crouching disco dance ended a highly enjoyable performance. For a girl who had never been outside of the USA before 2021, the world is now GLÜME’s oyster.

The acclaimed debut album by DESIRE was released in 2009 and creating a follow-up has seemingly been an arduous process. But Megan Louise hasn’t been idle over the intervening years, continuing to release singles, collaborate and getting involved in the day-today operations of Italians Do It Better.

With the second DESIRE album ‘Escape’ finally released in 2022, Megan Louise and Johnny Jewel had more songs to play around with compared to their last London gig at The Roundhouse opening for CHROMATICS in 2019. Live favourites such as ‘Don’t Call’, ‘If I Can’t Hold You’ and the cover of NEW ORDER’s Bizarre Love Triangle’ remained. But in came glorious atmospheric electro-disco numbers like ‘Zeros’ and ‘Liquid Dreams’ with wonderful synth interventions by Jewel on his vintage Univox K-2, the US variant of the MiniKorg 700s. Benefitting from more penetrating rhythmic backdrops, ‘Black Latex’ and ‘Days & Nights’ ensured that there was no excuse to go for a comfort break.

Dressed in black latex, Megan Louise was tastefully brazen while playfully teasing the crowd. At one point, she even made out with a skeleton while accidently dismembering it.

With the support of those present, all the “LAHS” came out in force during a reinterpretation of Kylie’s ‘Can’t Get You Out Of My Head’ and a dynamic take on the ‘Escape’ title song before a toughened-up ‘Under Your Spell’ provided a thumping close to the evening.

Almost as soon as the curtain came down, Megan Louise was already in casuals, meeting fans in the foyer and happily posing for selfies. It was just one of those good natured evenings with a welcoming atmosphere and of course, great music. With their brand outlining a distinct stamp of quality, hopefully Italians Do It Better will be back again in London soon to put on more showcases… KID MOXIE & NINA next time please 😉

Special thanks to Frankie Davison at Stereo Sanctity

Information on Italians Do It Better releases can be found at


Text and Photos by Chi Ming Lai
12th November 2022

KNIGHT$ + THEO SAYERS Live at The Hope & Anchor

For KNIGHT$, his first London gig in nearly 3 years was a sort of homecoming.

The Britalo vehicle of James Knights, although now based near the South Coast of England, the capital was where he had spent his formative musical years in the more indie pop SCARLET SOHO.

Taking on a more optimistic and direct electro approach, KNIGHT$ began in 2016 and steadily gained a cult following in Sweden and Germany.

The worldwide pandemic affected all artists but for KNIGHT$ whose favourable reputation was gained from engaging live performances, this was especially difficult. He went down the home live stream route with varying degrees of success although it was not the same.

Come 2022 and things kicked back into action with a European tour supporting TRANS-X while a prestigious opening slot at Infest got things going again back home. KNIGHT$ appearance at The Hope & Anchor was his first London appearance since Halloween 2019; the venue is best known for hosting JOY DIVISION in December 1978, although only three people turned up! Despite a national train strike, KNIGHT$ had a very good turn out from those looking to forget the high energy crisis for a few hours.

Opening the evening just as he had done on Halloween 2019 was Theo Sayers. Little did he know at the time that his then-forthcoming single ‘My Nose Is A Little Runny’ would have such poignant resonance with lyrical quips like “sleazes cause diseases”.

The resulting video ended up being a scene or two short, something which the Cambridge lad dwelled on after his performance of the quirky but appealing SLEAFORD MODS-styled track.

Accompanied by KNIGHT$ family member Jasmine Jasmine on vocals, Sayers presented his playful humourous songs in a matter-of-fact manner like a blokey Kate Nash. New numbers such as ‘Ramen For Two’ and his streetwise cover of Prince’s ‘When Doves Cry’ outlined his brand of scampy English hip-hop; he releases his first full-length album also called ‘Ramen For Two’ in 2023.

Opening with ‘What We Leave Behind’, James Knights got quickly into his stride aided by a bottle of Benylin®. With some distance since the release of his debut album ‘Dollars & Cents’ in Spring 2019, what stood out tonight was how well his songs have lasted the distance, something that is not always the case with much of today’s independent British synthpop.

Produced by Italo disco legends Fred Ventura and Paolo Gozzetti in their ITALOCONNECTION guise as well as remixed by the notable Italo DJ Flemming Dalum, the wonderful ‘Gelato’ was given a sensual live boost by regular keys player Nina Casey on backing vocals. Her presence also allowed for the first live performance of the BOYTRONIC duet ‘Proving A Point’ with the diminutive German providing her own stamp on the feisty Holger Wobker part.

James Knights has been very open about the influence of BRONSKI BEAT on his sound and ‘Hijack My Heart’ was a fine example of him aping the Jimmy Somerville-led version of the band. But he paid tribute directly to the Mark 2 version of BRONSKI BEAT fronted by John Jøn Foster with a cover of the frantic ‘Hit That Perfect Beat’, aided by Julz J of CAPITAL X on guest saxophone.

‘What’s Your Poison?’ was a reminder of how it all started for KNIGHT$ while another ITALOCONNECTION produced track, the ‘Dollars & Cents’ title song doffed its shades to the disco-menergy of the late Patrick Cowley.

But it was time to celebrate the most recent KNIGHT$ single ‘Boom Bang Boom’ and while ‘Two Steps from Heartache’ was a look back to his SCARLET SOHO days, ‘Alligator’ prompted “Snap! Snap!” actions from the audience as it amusingly satirised the perils of modern dating.

A fine return to the London stage that entertained all present including an unsuspecting Arsenal fan who was curious as to the goings-on in the clearly marked “HOME FANS ONLY” venue, James Knights said afterwards: “Well, what can I say. The energy in the room was electric. So good to connect with the audience again and play some of the rarer songs we’ve not played live before. You couldn’t hand pick a better fanbase than the KNIGHT$ one! I’m currently working on a new EP / vinyl release for 2023, and I’m sure there will be more live shows to mark that. We also have the 40th anniversary gigs of BOYTRONIC’s ‘Working Model’ album to look forward to as well… It’s good to be back.”

KNIGHT$ is proof that pop is not a four letter word…

KNIGHT$ ‘Boom Bang Boom’ is released by Specchio Uomo in various formats, available from

‘My Nose Is A Little Runny’ by Theo Sayers is available as a digital single direct from

Text by Chi Ming Lai
Photos by Richard Price
4th October 2022

TIM BOWNESS Live at Kings Cross Everyman

Album launches are a weird and wonderful thing. Usually consisting of either a payback of the latest release in a club to an invited audience where the band sit around disinterested waiting for the bar to open or a gig used to guilt folk into buying the new opus neither are really a celebration of the hard work and effort put into getting the product out.

The approach taken by Tim Bowness for the release of ‘Butterfly Mind’ was, as usual for this most singular of artists, to beat his own path. The Everyman 4, venue for tonight’s performance, is a cinema  so not your usual cathedral of rock and roll excess and seats about 50, so not an excuse to shift 1000 copies of the album.

The small queue outside were given access once Tim and his band casually wandered into the venue. Once inside a taste of how tonight was to go came from the sight of Bowness having piles of CDs pushed into his hands by his longtime collaborator Steven Wilson, and this set the tone for what was less gig and more akin to going round to your mates to watch him jam in his living room. With backing consisting of Fierce and the Dead guitarist Matt Stevens and another established Bowness contributor Peter Chilvers on keys, this was not going to be a full on rock and roll show, there was just enough room for a small merch table in the venue, let alone lasers and pyro.

Bowness started the evening by acknowledging the reason for us all coming together, the new album ‘Butterfly Mind’ and then promptly told the audience he is going to ignore that and go for a wander through his own extensive back catalogue. This ‘disregard’ for the new release even extended to there being no copies of ‘Butterfly Mind’ available to buy on the night. As I say, ploughing his own furrow.

Things kicked off with a very early composition ‘Never Needing’. We were then treated, and it was a treat, to ‘Brightest Blue’, a track written with another long term musical sparring partner Richard Barbieri. This was a theme for the evening with a number of unexpected treats played, some for the first time in decades.

The most enthusiastically received tracks were from the band Bowness formed with Steven Wilson, NO-MAN. The first of these ‘Time Travel In Texas’ featured some fine playing from Stevens and apparently a hidden homage to Roobarb and Custard!

The work with Peter Chilvers was represented by the melancholy ‘Days Turn Into Years’ from the ‘California, Norfolk’ album, a holiday destination we were all encouraged to visit.

Anyone who has listened to the excellent ‘The Album Years’ podcast will know Bowness is an engaging conversationalist and this carries forward to his back and forth with the audience. The first set closed with ‘Back When You Were Beautiful’ which was introduced with a tale of shoplifting in a Norwich Thornton’s chocolate shop. As I said, not your typical gig…

The interval was a chance for the band to mingle with the audience in the evening sunshine. This included well-kent faces like John Mitchell and comedian Al Murray. Tim got so caught up in mixing with his guests, he had to be reminded by Peter Chilvers he had a second set to play.

That second set picked up where the first left off with more NO-MAN music in the shape of ‘Wherever There is Light’ and the Bowness track ‘The Warm-Up Man Forever’ which was welcome as it is a particular favourite not only of mine but also the audience.

‘Not Married Anymore’ once again highlighted how wonderful Bowness’s voice is. In an almost ‘torchsong’ setting and with minimal instrumentation, it is allowed to come to the fore. I have never hidden my regard for his vocal style and the up-close nature of this show only reinforces that. His ability to deliver the saddest of lyrical content without it seeming forced is a skill few possess.

A ukulele free ‘Rainmark’ heralded the home stretch for the set which did include one ‘Butterfly Mind track’, ‘It’s Easier To Love’ before that back catalogue was raided for a final time with an excerpt of Sweetheart Raw. This showed age has not diminished Bowness’s vocal prowess despite his worry about the song being in the original key.

There was also welcome outing for the early NO-MAN song ‘Days in the Trees’. Another run through of ‘The Warm-Up Man Forever’ as ‘voted’ for by the audience closed proceedings off.

This was an album launch unlike any I have attended before. It was more a celebration of a career which thankfully, on the evidence of that new album ‘Butterfly Mind’, shows no signs of decline. I look forward to more live outings, hopefully in the very near future.

ELECTRICITYCLUB.CO.UK gives its warmest thanks to Tim Bowness

‘Butterfly Mind’ is released by InsideOutMusic / Sony Music as a limited 2CD and vinyl LP+CD editions via

Text by Ian Ferguson
Photos by Chi Ming Lai
14th August 2022


In the midst of time, the matinée concert was once a common occurrence and even during the Synth Britannia years, OMD, DEPECHE MODE and ULTRAVOX were among those who participated.

With increasingly mature music audiences and families in tow, particularly within synth-based music, an afternoon music event is ideal and when it finishes, dinner can be served and the train journey home can circumnavigate the often unpredictable nuisance of pub closing time.

The brainchild of Dom Cresswell, Duskwaves have hit upon the idea of using off-peak periods at venues and presenting them with an opportunity to boost business. The brand began modestly with a 2021 event in the Kent record shop Decktronix, but an April event at The Cavendish Arms near Battersea showed real potential in the daytime concept. This particular edition of Duskwaves formed part of the Medway Council sponsored Intrafest festival to support local businesses and the location was the relaxing dining garden of the Rochester Pizza Lounge next to the river.

Dom Cresswell is also behind AUW aka ABANDONED URANIUM WORKINGS, a musical umbrella that over two decades has embraced techno, breakbeat and now synthwave while in between, there was production of the acclaimed 2009 album ‘Navigation’ by ARTHUR & MARTHA featuring his brother Adam Cresswell, CEO of the boutique label Happy Robots Records. It was the older Cresswell who now records as Rodney Cromwell that eased the crowd into the afternoon with a curated selection of tunes that included NATION OF LANGUAGE, DEPECHE MODE, NEW ORDER and LADYTRON alongside Donna Summer and Gemma Cullingford.

But to open the live element of Duskwaves was INFRA VIOLET, the Brighton-based duo comprising of Bethany Munroe and Toby Campen; incidentally the latter’s father was a member of GREY PARADE who opened for Gary Numan on his 1985 UK tour. Their synth rock flavoured debut album ‘Dream Tether’ has been well received with Munroe’s heartfelt vocals being singled out for praise. Performing in the open air with traffic running on the road behind them on an immensely sunny day without the trimmings of stage lighting is not ideal.

But INFRA VIOLET took to their set with a warm injection of enthusiasm, aided by their instrumental versatility. Originating from more rock-oriented climes, INFRA VIOLET were inspired to take up synths by the international success of CHVRCHES.

Opening with ‘Polaroid’, its gothwave demeanour stood out in the sunshine but a synthy insistence provided the drive. Their most streamed track ‘Grow’ exuded optimism and brightness to highlight why they have found a synthwave audience. Meanwhile the most recent single ‘Easy’ pointed to more countrified climes despite the electronic backdrop as the soulful confession of ‘Mess’ closed their set.

AUW’s live set began with the marvellous instrumental ‘Europa Dusk’ from the new ‘Twilight Drives’ album before charismatic vocalist Sebastian Durkin joined on stage. With a growling stage persona was reminiscent of Samuel T Herring of FUTURE ISLANDS, this approach was particularly effective on ‘The Window Show’ while Durkin also took to singing to passers-by on the street during ‘Concrete Panorama. Leaving Cresswell to finish solo, the lush beat-laden chillwave of ‘Yellow & Confidence’ provided some aural air conditioning to proceedings.

Undertaking her first ever DJ set, Dawn Taylor did as her Synthwave83 moniker suggested, with the digital slap bass frenzy of ‘Officewave’ from DREAMKID among one of the tracks to warm up those present for the headliners YOUNG EMPRESS.

“Drink Tab, play Robotron, listen to DURAN DURAN” is the motto of unrelated Dudley duo of Rebecca Davies and Robin Davies. Strong on the visual aspect of their presentation, they produced their own supernatural teen angst short film story that featured four songs from the debut long player ‘Lost Time’ issued by Aztec Records. But for this afternoon’s performance, it was a stripped down set-up with no film backdrops or their usual accompanying keyboardist.

YOUNG EMPRESS took to the challenge with aplomb, beginning with ‘Peacemaker’ which strangely recalled one of the thematic sections of John Miles’ epic 1976 hit ‘Music’ and displayed some excellent six string work. One of the ‘Lost Time’ highlights ‘Eyes Closed’ saw its glorious synth work shine albeit via the backing track while the keys and guitar interplay of ‘Christine’ evoked a less frantic ‘Oh Jungleland’ by SIMPLE MINDS. Ending Duskwaves with the wonderful ‘Ghosts’, this was folk-tinged popwave with emotive contralto vocals that provided strength to escape from the darkness.

But darkness was still some way off as all the acts packed up their equipment in the garden of the Rochester Pizza Lounge. It was an enjoyable relaxed event in which the time simply flew by. With pizza, panini, waffles and ice cream served with synths, Duskwaves was proof that daytime gigs really are the future…

The next Duskwaves takes place at Electric Medway in Rochester Victoria Gardens in Chatham on Friday 19th August 2022 from 1.30pm to 6.30pm – entry is free, info at

Text and Photos by Chi Ming Lai
19th July 2022

« Older posts Newer posts »