Thursday 11 October 2007

This world go crazy

Fri 5 Oct
Brixton Academy

Manu Chao live at last! Non-stop, high speed, high volume thrash, a 2-hour assault on the senses, especially the ears. The front 3 - Manu himself, the bass and the lead - are very physical musicians, always on the move, each very different in physique and stage presence, so there's plenty to look at, and there's a great deal of wit both in the music and in the lyrics (if only you could hear them . . . ), and the good-time feeling is always to the fore.

There were few of his earlier classics to sing along to - a Clandestino / Desaparecido sequence, a couple from Próxima Estación Esperanza - but most of the show drew from his latest record, La Radiolina. This appears to have a harder edge to it than his earlier material, and on the first few hearings seems to be less varied musically; there are plenty of catchy tunes and riffs, and pithy phrases, but everything is very short - 20 tracks on the CD - and there doesn't seem to be as much development, either musically, lyrically or thematically, as on his earlier records. I'll keep listening.

All of which matters little when you're caught up in the excitement of the live show, however. Manu's infectious enthusiasm and driving, powerful sound kept the crowd bouncing all evening. Crazy indeed.

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