Nemo / Eskimo Disco / Gene Serene - The Marquee, London
The Marquee is one of those clubs that’s been going for ages but in a few different venues, though the logo remains the same one visible on those old posters listing the Rolling Stones in their early days. The current venue is next to the Empire cinema on Leicester Square, and is a large hanger-like room with air conditioning and girders everywhere. The atmosphere is good and has a decent pa to boot.
Gene Serene takes to the stage with nothing more than a large, chunky, metal microphone of the sort you see from the 60s and barks out lyrics over a backing track and accompanying video footage (projected above and behind her). The backing music is house/techno in style and generally lacking in strong hooks, though it’s clearly well-produced and gets her fan base jumping about. Over this she occasionally sings, but mostly shout/speaks lyrics in short bursts while walking back and forth along the stage like a caged animal, exuding sex appeal and control. She looks great and makes sure as many of her lines are said ‘to’ members of the audience. Unfortunately the lyrics sound horribly clichéd to me and I’m half-tempted to knock up some “Sleaze-Synth-Pop Buzzword Bingo” cards so the audience and I can play along. HOUSE!
Next up are Eskimo Disco who I can best describe as Soulwax remixed by Daft Punk. They’re incredibly tight, have two bands’ worth of equipment, yet still manage to jump around like three-piece punk band. There’s a backing track in there somewhere I think, but they make a lot of noise between them, mixing acoustic and electronic drum sounds via a set of triggers on the kit and using as well as the more traditional electronica band’s arsenal of keyboards, vocoders and bass so loud your rib-cage begins to crumble. At one point the bassist hangs a guitar up above his bass so he slip in a quick 80’s hair-metal style solo, which is a shame, given how incredibly strong and flowing his basslines are! Their songs are good but quite similar and the set seems to go on a couple of songs too long.
Nemo have changed guitarists since the last time I saw them and it proves to be a change for the better: the new guy moves around the stage, totally into the sound and boosting the band’s energy. There are only a couple of songs I recognise from a couple of years back, with Living Room being the only disappointment: for some the guitar is totally consumed by the backing track, giving none of the old dynamic when the heavy chorus riffs kick in. The rest of the set showcases a more ‘post-punk’ sound from the band, with jagged start stop sounds and a greater use of distorted guitar. Lifespan sounds particularly good with Milan swapping bass for deep sounding keyboard that attacks and crouches over with gusto. Front man James’ capering still flips into the absurd, with him leaving the stage twice for a song’s intro so he can run on in time to start the song, but I guess that goes with the job.