Wednesday, 28 July 2010

Gig Review: Atari Teenage Riot @ Electric Ballroom

A voyage was undertaken down to the capital to see the mighty Atari Teenage Riot on their reunion tour. A pleasant meander around the pubs of Camden was called for until it was time to head to Electric Ballroom. The support act were possibly the most inappropriate booking possible outside of getting Toploader on stage. Very generic and melodramatic trad goth, so unremarkable I can’t actually locate their name online anywhere. I'm assuming some people reading this are familiar with the works of Atari Teenage Riot, and for them I will pause a moment to let them stop laughing.

They weren't even very good at melodrama, which is possibly the easiest thing in the world to perfect. I won't dwell on that though, because ATR were absolutely blinding. Accompanied by a great sound (really important when your music is a clattering cacophony of beats and shouting), the revised lineup bounced across the stage yelling at us and occasionally pressing a button. Carl Crack's place was ably filled by CX Kidtronik, whose pedigree includes Nine Inch Nails and Saul Williams. Not to speak ill of the dead, but frankly he was a massive improvement. Even on record Crack came across as a rambling lunatic. The part of Hanin Elias was played by Nic Endo, who emerged from behind her machines to do a shockingly accurate impression of the former frontwoman. To be honest, I didn't really notice the difference. And I wasn't close enough to ogle. Alec Empire was actually Alec Empire, however. The set was a seemingly endless list of powering highlights, battering the senses with percussion and vocals. However, for me the highest point of the gig was the severe face kicking that was "No Remorse", which I hadn't even expected them to play. Unbelievable in its aggression and velocity, screaming out of the PA and into the audience like a herd of wild bulls. Fuck. Yeah.

The whole thing made me feel like frantically punching modern life in the face past the point of submission. "Speed". "Destroy 2000 Years Of Culture". "Sick To Death". "Atari Teenage Riot II". "Revolution Action". "Too Dead For Me" segueing into "U.S. Fade Out". Pure digital hardcore bliss. Out of all the vaguely sellout reunions of the last 10 years, this is definitely my favourite. In fact, it might not even be a sellout. It might be something really fucking amazing, especially if new material follows the quality of the recent single.

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