Live Review: Antarctica

1 October 2012 | 3:17 pm | Esther Rivers

Antarctica are a mind explosion. Frontman (if you can use that term for this wonderfully dynamic band) Nedd Jones looks almost demonic standing before his synth, the oceanic hues of the backdrop lights drifting across his face. First track Broken Fractured Frozen kinda makes you feel like you're inside some sort of speed-fuelled video game. And it rules. (Did we mention that their album is being sold for ten bucks a pop as a wrist band/USB?? It also has a 'sex calendar' on it. There may still be some available should you wish to explore what this might be.) As the track ends, Jones jumps off stage, landing in front of us and declaring that we simply cannot be sitting down for this. We immediately stand up, feeling like assholes for not already doing so.

“We're called 'The Finger Dippers',” says Jones, drawing a quick laugh from the crowd before swiftly navigating through to the next track. They harness the speed of their playing with precision, creating powerful, carefully constructed, electro rock'n'roll. The only real pause in their set comes when drummer Joel Griffith gets up to swap instruments with synth player/drummer/vocalist Pete Sparks. A chipper birthday song comes across the PA and, as Sparks sits down at the kit, Griffith swoops upon a tambourine as he and the rest of the band start joyously embarrassing Sparks with an impromptu happy birthday celebration. Sparks waits patiently and mouths a sarcastic, “Fuck you!” at them all before continuing. “What's that?” says Sparks, as Jones whispers something in his ear. “Oh, yeah. I have a habit of fucking this song up because I play it too fast. Let's just play it. Really fast.” This may be the fastest anyone has ever played. Seriously. We are unsure how these guys aren't running out of energy. Jones' fingers are flying faster than our eyes can follow, Sparks is screaming backing vocals and banging his head and Griffith raises his arm theatrically before each crash on the cymbal.

During their last song, Na Na Na Na, Griffith stands and beckons to a friend in the crowd. Guitarist Warwick Dunn also nods at a friend, pulling his guitar over his head and handing it over to the guy. Griffith has handed drumming reins to his mate and has given a few girls up the front tambourines, demanding they smash along to the beat. Jones and Sparks are now in the crowd and have found two more people to pull onstage and take over, demonstrating which keys to press to play on. “MORE COWBELL!” screams Griffith. The band has become the crowd and vice versa, and people have taken over instruments left right and centre as the beat swirls and gets faster, growing and exploding in a grand finish.

These guys are original, authentic, fun and talented. It's not every day you wind up at the end of a show with a cowbell in your hand. See them.

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