We just can't get you out of our heads

Review by Simon Pinion

I WAS very pleased when, walking into the Shepherd's Bush Empire (on Monday, March 11, 2002), I found out that The Electric Soft Parade were the support for Ian Brown. Having seen them only about three weeks before, supporting The Who, I knew their potential.

The two friends who joined me at this gig knew very little of them, so I awaited their comments after the performance.

I recognised some of the set from the last time I had seen them, including the drummer and singer swapping places for a couple of tracks. This time, there were to be a couple of surprises thrown in.

Singles known from XfM's past playlist like Something's Gotta Give and There's A Silence were instantly recognisable and were played with such enthusiasm that it made me start to wonder if Brown's performance would be as special.

Their whole set was played with such conviction that there would be no doubt that they were enjoying every minute. Not an attribute that you see that often, especially on the last night of a major tour.

Cover songs are always an option for a support band. Choosing the song and the style it is played is the key to success. Kylie's Can't Get You Out Of My Head wouldn't seem an obvious choice for this, but it turned out to be an ideal one though. It is a song that everyone knows and no one would expect to hear, especially in a guitar-driven format (it's rather like Travis doing Britney Spears's Hit Me Baby One More Time, or Brown doing Michael Jackson's Billie Jean!).

Their last song, Silent To The Dark, is their current single, having entered the chart at number 23 only the day before. In places, this rendition only vaguely could be traced to the original. Starting out as a Sixties psychedelic meanderer and ending in a Verve-style high, this tune was a fitting end to their excellent set - even Ian Brown's drummer came to join them on stage. With two drummers and a host of feedback sounds, it provided a lasting memory.

Both my friend agreed with me, The Electric Soft Parade are instantly impressive. Their parade has a long way to go, I'm sure we'll see plenty more of it.

Click here for Ian Brown gig review