CSS - Birmingham Academy

Unlike fellow contributor Lorne Thompson, I didn't manage to catch this festive tour's opening act Metronomy. Blame this on late Friday night trains and/or a supremely early start time: doors opened at six, I was in there for twenty to seven and their set was already a thing of the past. This was a shame, as I'd heard many good things about this previous support to Kate Nash, and was excited about the comparisons to acts like Hot Chip.

When the second support took to the stage, the short showing from Metronomy was explained. Coolly getting comfortable behind their decks, their iconic cross of light shining forth upon the crowd, Justice delivered a set that rivalled the main act for headline length. Indeed, a few randomers I spoke to had purchased tickets for this gig solely to see Justice, a sign that the Parisian duo are doing something right. Once again, my night differs from Lorne's because, while he didn't exactly dig these supposed 'saviours of dance music', I was impressed by a DJ set that proved their stellar appearance at Creamfields was no fluke. With only one album to their name, there were no real surprises, only the siren blast intro of Klaxons' Atlantis to Interzone kicking off their remix of Simian's We Are Your Friends being unexpected. However, when what one expects is a set of mammoth dance tunes that could just as easily soundtrack the end of the world as well as your Friday night, the lack of new material is no lack. Bonus points for one half of the duo sucking on a cig midway through the set; I'm no supporter of smoking but such a 'fuck you' to the ban goes to show that dance is the new punk.

I apologise now for not owning a bad-ass camera like Lorne (and also for simply not possessing his talent with cameras) but this review doesn't feature any visuals, a total failure on my part seeing as CSS's Christmas show is a feast for the eyes. They promised dress-up and, boy, they weren't lying. In the interim between the completion of Justice's set and their own, sound guys dressed as elves did what they had to, while also heightening the excitement for seasonal CSS. I doubt anyone predicted that, when the time came for them to emerge on stage, they would be wrapped as Crimbo presents. Bursting from said wrap, they launched into opener Fuck Off is Not the Only Thing You Have to Show, frontwoman and focal point of the band Lovefoxx sporting a headpiece of fake snow. Yep. It was that kind of night...

Away from the fake snow and dancers dressed as Christmas trees, the songs still managed to make themselves the centre of attention. The shouty-chick poppy punk of Patins is the finest Le Tigre song not written by Le Tigre, while the cheeky and blush-inducing Meeting Paris Hilton and Music is My Hot Hot Sex got everyone, both on the stage and off, extra sweaty. Lovefoxx, dressed in one of her trademark skintight leotards, helped remind everyone she is one of the most confident - and mad - performers in the biz by pulling all manner of wacky shapes throughout the gig, the rest of the member-heavy band happy to let her shine. Alcohol is lightweight, bordering on novelty single, and a couple of new songs showed off possible new avenues but failed to win over a hit-hungry crowd. Thankfully, the dirty electro of Alala and a strong closing rendition of crowd fave Let's Make Love..., which proved to be as shiny fantastic as Lovefoxx's tinsel-decorated mic stand, meant that this was one early prezzie in no way destined to go back to the store.

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