Tragically Hip: Black Kids Live @Ancienne Belgique 11/11/2008

Black Kids Live @ AB Club, Brussels

Black Kids Live @ AB Club, Brussels

If there is any doubt which period is being celebrated at Black Kids first show in Brussels, one only has to look around at the smattering of 30-somethings nodding along to 80’s hits by the likes of Cyndi Lauper before the band take to the stage. But while the day-glo styling, Flock of Seagulls haircuts and self-conscious dancing hints at the decade that taste forgot, Black Kids can’t, for the most part, be mistaken for a nostalgia act.
Firstly, these slightly awkward looking Floridians were barely out of short pants before the 80s were over. Secondly, despite their Human League harmonies, Black Kids sound very ‘now’. (Whether that’s a good thing or not is another discussion). They seem to be the latest of a clutch of bands to make a splash by combining guitar-driven edginess with sometimes naff-sounding party synths. It works well on many of the tunes they lavish on the compact and tragically hip crowd at the AB Club. There’s enough post-punk in songs like I’ve Underestimated My Charm (Again) and Love Me Already to suggest the Kids didn’t grow up with just a collection of New Romantic albums while I’m Not Going to Teach Your Boyfriend to Dance is the dance cross-over hit The Cure have been looking for since 1987.

But then there are songs like Look at Me When I Rock Wichoo and Hurricane Jane which dig up the corpses of the more indulgent aspects of the 80s and force them to dance without a hint of post-modern irony. There are moments when the music, much like Black Kids themselves, appears not to have been given time to fully grow up before being thrust into the limelight. On tonight’s evidence, while Black Kids go down very well with Converted from the Blogosphere, a certain amount of maturity may be needed before the real world is theirs for the taking.

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