Baptiste / Bikini Atol / Mako 27th April 2001 Camden Underworld
Last week we lounged on fusty velvet sofas listening to the Velvet Underground and the currently obligatory Strokes at Baptisite's club night 'Uptight'. This week Baptiste have organised their very own gig for our entertainment. Flapping our fliers in the face of the box-office girl we are ushered into the little-used side entrance to the Underworld. It seems this isn't a big gala event, the main bar is closed, possibly because the venue is having a make-over, the whole place reeking of fresh (orange) paint.
First up are Mako, four
young things, including a rather irritating guitarist in a straw cowboy hat
who gurns like Dave Hill from Slade (without the teeth. Or hair. Or spangly
outfits) and throws ridiculous rock shapes culminating in the splits. Fortunately,
the Johnny Marr-a-like singer does some louche Bobby Gillespie mic-leaning
to make up for his oafish bandmate. Some good moves don't cover up the fact
that Mako are an anaemic Thee Hypnotics. Full marks for giving it some satanic
majesty attitude to an empty dancefloor, mind.
Bikini Atol's U.S.P. is Nigella Lawson playing unhinged whirly keyboards. Okay, so it's not actually Nigella, but it amuses us to pretend it is, as she tosses her locks hither and thither, thrusts out her chest and generally gives it a bit of Rick Wakeman on the keys. The sound features Velvets phrasing, churny guitars and of course mental fairground noises. Things are looking up.
Baptiste are five solemn
blokes in dark suits and white shirts (the quick 'n' easy option for creating
a unified look on stage, see also Scarfo, 'Munki' era Mary Chain, a zillion
other bands). Their backdrop features projections of a succession of 1940s
lovelies, all marcel waves and firmly upholstered glamour. They have an utterly
utterly gorgeous black & white Rickenbaker. Starting with an instrumental
which is all Felt keyboards and ringing guitars, Baptiste create a warm luxurious
sound. The sun shining on chilled bones. The next song begins rather gothily
with circling Cure-like guitar, before tumbling into a driving Velvets beat
behind sky-rocketing guitars which eventually twist into a feedback finale.
Most of all, the songs recall the dusty lushness of 'Darklands' era Mary Chain,
as gentle chiming guitars become washes of fuzz.
|[top of page]|