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Sexy boys get romantic at Brixton Academy


Review: Emma Whitelaw

Air, Brixton Academy, February 18, 2004

ULTRA-modern, yet clearly influenced by their predecessors, it was a case of Parisian chic meets retro cool at Brixton Academy on Wednesday night.

After a harmonious My Bloody Valentine-esque set from support act, Joy Zipper, Nicholas Godin and Jean Benoit Dunkel came out moogs a-blazing.

Armed with an extensive array of synthesizers and guitars, the French duo, Air, prove that not only can they send you into a blissful trance they too can rock!

Dunkel is the epitome of à la mode. Teaming strap on Roland synth, with black attire, red white and blue striped Adidas trainers, and a tilted baker boy hat, he was king of quintessential French style.

Godin was just as debonair as he proclaimed to the captivated crowd: "The press say we talk about sex all the time, but in fact we are very romantic. We wrote this song, Cherry Blossom Girl."

With lyrics like, 'I'll never love again, can I say that to you, will you run away, if I try to be true', they are guaranteed to have captured the heart of every girl in Brixton that night.

The dreamy electro flirtations indeed confirmed that the sexy boys do have a sensuous and tender side.

Followed swiftly by the hypnotically groovy Talisman we were reminded of our first love, the massively successful debut, Moon Safari. Performing tracks from their entire career, it becomes apparent just how easy it is to overlook how talented Air really are.

Alpha Beta Gaga, from their latest offering, Talkie Walkie, featured Godin whistling happily with support from back-up. Traces of Pink Floyd filtered through an instrumental Playground Love, from the soundtrack to Sofia Coppola's, The Virgin Suicides.

I was hoping to hear Lost in Kyoto, from Lost in Translation, too, but if they played every track I liked we would have be there all night!

From 10,000Hz Legend came Wonder Milky Bitch, which carried the unmistakable tones of Godin through a vocoder. And, with a playful smirk that said, 'you know you love it', they kicked in with an up-tempo Kelly Watch the Stars.

At times, it was hard to tell who was having the most fun, them or us.

Sometimes blinding and sometimes flickering in a mesmerizing star-like way, the lighting was a befitting accompaniment throughout the show.

At some points, it was an explosion of colour. The cherry reds, which ranged to cool blues, were indicative of the mood-swinging melodies.

They coyly teased their devoted fans, leaving it that extra minute before they appeared back on stage with an encore, which included synthquaking renditions of Sexy Boy and La Femme D'Argent.

After one hell of a closer, Godin and Dunkel bid their audience a loving adieu. Blowing kisses as they walked offstage, they ardently reminded us that the French do romance best.

For those who missed the serenade, you're in luck, as Air play Brixton Academy again on Saturday, March 13. For tickets see www.ticketmaster.co.uk

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