Guitarist David Startin and keyboardist/vocalist Matthew Cooper of I Am Lono made the room feel like an 80s arcade game crossed with a haunted house.
Sharp, staccato guitar rhythms were contrasted with echoing reverb from the keyboard, creating a deliciously gothic atmosphere to enhance what could just have been straight electronic pop songs. This was aided by Matthew Cooper’s vocal, often dark and baritone, while the jutting beats of the guitar and drum machine kept up the pace and energy of the set.
The band played tracks from their self-titled EP as well as other material they’ve been working on, and the crowd responded well. Because they were first on stage in an exciting line-up, I Am Lono probably didn’t get the praise they deserved, but are definitely ones to watch on the local music scene for the range in sound that they manage to create.
Next up was London four-piece Palma Violets. Floppy-haired in appearance and yet to record any material, it would be easy to pass this band off as just another Vaccines. However, after a punky garage rock set of layers of rippling sound, it’s easy to see why they are so highly anticipated.
Guitarist Sam and bassist Chilli worked together onstage in a camaraderie not unlike Pete and Carl of The Libertines, full of sheer energy and confidence. Lyrics were fairly simple, but when combined with the drum and keyboard rhythms along with Sam’s vocal, a mixture of punk shouting and Ian Curtis-esque baritone, it was hedonistically good. It’s clear that Palma Violets have an exciting year ahead and are due to release a single at the end of the summer.
Savages’ mesmerising frontwoman Jehnny Beth danced like Ian Curtis in stilettos and sang like Siouxsie Sioux. Performing a set that was simultaneously frantic and ethereal in sound, Savages blew the archetypal girl group out of the water in a storm of post-punk cool. They played tracks previously unperformed, as well as Flying to Berlin their recently released single, whilst the feverish echoing beats of Husbands provided a perfect end to the evening.
Both Savages and Palma Violets are proving to be big players in the new music scene, and it was great to see a Nottingham band playing a successful and memorable support slot as part of this – hopefully we’ll see I Am Lono around a lot more.
Savages, Palma Violets and I Am Lono played at The Bodega on Monday 30 July 2012.