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Kap Bambino – Captain’s Rest, Glasgow

Kap Bambino‘Extreme’ is a word bandied around fairly frequently and often too easily. Television shows and newspapers are guilty of it, but so too is the music world. Things which are slightly left of centre get given the label, things which are one louder, things where people feel screaming = some sort of soul. Gallows get called ‘extreme’. Gallows. A band who are about as punk as the Lighthouse Family. Fucked Up are called ‘extreme’ because of the tiresomely risqué name and a few shouted swear words in the vocals. It’s therefore fantastic to see an act who genuinely deserve the epithet and remind you how downright thrilling music that actually is extreme can be.

Kap Bambino are, to be frank, mental. A two-piece from Bordeaux, their sound can best be summed up as an evil hybrid of electro, punk and disco, with a touch of rave thrown in their too. It sounds like someone trying to rape a bomb siren. It’s huge and crazy and wild and an awful lot of fun.

If you can imagine a less weird but louder Crystal Castles mixed with a bouncier Vitalic, you’ll be getting there. They lack the experimental edges of CC, but make up for that with a knack of finding the nagging beat and the ability to get the whole room headbanging furiously. Singer Caroline Martial is unhappy with the vocal levels, so she walks right up to the sound desk in the middle of song one and tells him. The rest of the night she’s like Debbie Harry on PCP, a whirling blond dervish hurtling herself across stage, into the amps and into the crowd. She has a stunning stage presence which doesn’t so much arrest the eyes as take them hostage. Orion Bouvier is making this ungodly racket from behind a bank of samplers, but has the same intensity as his partner. Both exude that gallic charm, the ‘don’t-fuck-with-me’ insouciance the French do best.

The crowd are going absolutely, properly fruit and nuts and that’s some achievement for a band rocking into a small venue on a Tuesday. ‘Dead Lazers’ almost threatens to cause a mini-rapture, while ‘Intimacy’ promises anything but as a full-scale stage invasion takes place. The band don’t care, Martial shrieking dementedly whilst Bouvier creates a sound akin to a spaceship being attacked by a gang of bucktoothed midwesterners.

It’s visceral, and it’s occasionally thrilling. It definitely stands up a lot better live than it does on record because in the end, punk and electro influences aside, the realisation dawns; this is dance music. It’s about how it makes you feel, and a look at the audience, who have by now lost any inhibitions and grinds in one motion like a wind battered bouncy castle, will tell how how successful it is.

So while Kap Bambino won’t break your heart, they will certainly make it pump a little faster. And that’s not a bad thing.


5 Responses

  1. Well done for not making the obvious Ting Tings comparison, just because she’s a pretty bird with peroxide hair.

  2. What are they, like the French Ting Tings??

  3. No, they are like two Gallic mentals being mental. Like a mash-up between a rave tune and the Sex Pistols.

  4. blimey, it sounds from this like you are actually starting to get what dance / electro is all about 🙂

    this is a great review of a totally mental gig!!

  5. I’ve always got what it’s about, it’s just not my #1 genre.

    It’s like midget porn – not my thing, but I can still appreciate the art in it. 🙂

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