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Culture Reviews
The Legendary Pink Dots
B2 Club 
By Nathaniel Williams
At B2 last Thursday a long line awaited all of The Legendary Pink Dots’ fans wanting to see the first Moscow show in the bands twenty-three year history. In Moscow to promote the release of their new album I Did Not Inhale, distributed by Russian label Zakat, the band gave a strong performance at B2. For the show original singer and songwriter Edward Ka-Spel led the band with his trademark voice, and original keyboardist, sample arranger and all around electronics whiz Phil Knight kept the drum machine running while creating a myriad of odd noises. Playing a set of material ranging from tracks off of Faces in the Fire to All the King’s Men the show was a blast for long time listeners.

But before LPD took the stage the audience was forced to endure a performance by a local band, who luckily for them, did not give their name. Sure, I could have asked someone but having been a musician myself I decided to let them keep their anonymity. The lead singer, sporting a “tormented artist in Gucci” look had obviously practiced his emotive hand gestures in front of a mirror, but the bands’ performance only managed to come off like a bad and too long SNL skit without the irony. Imagine a toddler in the midst of a tantrum, who is screaming by inhaling rather than exhaling, now give that toddler a column of speakers and a mic and you get the picture. Many members of the audience covered their ears for the set, and there is no better sign that someone at B2 needs to stop booking bands as personal favors. But I digress…

It was obvious that the audience was composed of serious LPD fans, and not the typical club scene mix. The Legendary Pink Dots took the stage to one of the warmest audience welcomes I have seen at recent concerts, and thanked the audience with a solid performance. Almost every song was met with the applause of fans who knew the material well, and who palpably worked up the emotional build of the performance. The band is often categorized as psychedelic or gothic, in part because of the mystical lyrics of Ka-Spel, and the music gradually built from calm to writhing. The early songs of the set, while met with enthusiasm from the crowd, sounded musically tight but too homogenous to my ears, but as the show went on I became more impressed. There was an almost shamanic intensity to the performance as the vibe of the club progressed from laid back and soothing to dissonant and heady.

Especially noteworthy was the saxophone and flute work of veteran LPD player Niels Van Hoorn who took the lead on most songs, giving flair to otherwise ordinary arrangements. Guitarist Martijn de Kleer offered solid melodic backing, only breaking into distortion a respectable thirty minutes into the set, but at times his guitar was lost somewhere in the mixing board. The band performed without a bass player, but the parts were covered on sequencer by Knight who managed to fill in the frequencies quite well. Edward Ka-Spel gave a strong performance, with his humble British enunciation shifting between a soothing Syd Barrett to a howling Sid Vicious during high energy songs.

Despite a dismal opening band, and some problems getting the mix right The Legendary Pink Dots gave a great show that left the sold out venue buzzing with gratification.

28.08.03
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