Monday, October 15

Neils Children at Camden Roundhouse - A Review

13th October 2007. This was the second time Neils Children had performed a free all-ages show for Artrocker magazine at the Camden Roundhouse's FREEDM studio. The first in March was a brilliant performance, and we were hoping for a repeat (especially since we needed cheering up after missing Plastic Passion in support).

There were a few doubts at first, as the Children launched into an underwhelmingly slowed-down version of their latest single 'You Didn't Care', as to whether they'd deliver such a good performance again. 'What Am I Supposed To Do?' was a little lacking in the intensity which N/C have put into the song in the past as well. After these two numbers, the crowd was largely static and the Children didn't really seem to be enjoying themselves on stage.

Then came 'Something You Said'. Despite officially being a b-side, the song is among the Children's better-known tunes and its danceable drumbeat injected a bit of life into the arms-folded brigade. The improvised freakout also let N/C wake up a bit and get their technical skills into play. You could see why it's usually used as a set-opener, and maybe it'll go back to that position in the future.

So by the time 'Something You Said' was finished, the gig seemed to have finally started properly. Neils Children were on fine form, throwing out internation super-hits like 'Another Day' and new material like the 'The Night Is Over' with another improv section in the middle and the instrumental 'Communique' with all their usual attitude and skill, and providing more choice quotations for the Book Of 'I Hate Models' Put-Downs. This got the crowd at the front dance-fighting and the rest nodding in appreciation, which is all you'll get from some people.

'The Night Is Over' has been Neils Children's set-closer for a good while now, and so I was ready to leave, satisfied with a good concert, when John Linger raised his guitar and picked out a rising-and-descending hook, instantly recognisable to anyone in the know as the introduction of 'Lucifer Sam'. We were astonished since, like 'I Hate Models', 'Lucifer Sam' has been banished from the N/C set-list for so long that we thought it was gone for good. But this time they played it, and played it perfectly - sharp guitar attacks, virtuoso drum fills from Brandon Jacobs, and Keith Seymour's tight and solid bass backbone on one final improv section.

By the time the dragged-out last verse came around, my opinion of the Roundhouse gig had skyrocketed. Although the show started slowly, the climax was fantastic. The kids are a lot better than alright.

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