8 July 2009

Review: Kasabian, Eden Sessions, 04/07/09

For thousands of years, the heated debate between creationists and those of us with bloody common sense has raged; is Darwin’s Theory of Evolution the reason we’re all here living and breathing, or was woman created from Adam’s rib and let loose in a garden of riches only to cause humankind’s eternal condemnation? (If you’re having trouble deciding, you might not want to read much more). However, tonight at Cornwall’s majestic Eden Project, a surreal and disturbing rewriting of the time/space/belief continuum is occurring as Neanderthals invade the verdant former clay pit to see Kasabian become the least fitting band to grace a stage since John Mayer at MJ’s funeral. Crowd highlights include a chap wearing a t-shirt wondering “Is it necrophilia if it’s still twitching?”, blokes comparing how many midgets they know (two apiece, apparently) over their respective six pint trays of cider, and hordes of delightful types dropping empty beer cups and fag ends in the sweet pea patches. If we’re searching hard for silver linings, at least they’re ignoring The Hours, whose dulling tones make it seem plausible that Kasabian might actually provide some sort of musical relief.

Please, someone pinch me. As Kasabian strut on stage seemingly in order of self-perceived importance, the only relief they could offer might be to an stratospherically obese person thinking about getting back into exercise, as they demand that we put our hands in the air for the first of more than 20 times in a 15 song set. The command constantly spills from Tom Meighan’s lips as if he has attention-seeking Tourettes, joining his messianic spread arms in an hubristic display that’s embarrassing to watch. They boom on with ‘Underdog’, the opener of ‘West Ryder Pauper Lunatic Asylum’, which psyches up the crowd with pithy sentiments like “lost in a moment” and easy to grasp expansive concepts such as “sky” and “future”. Profound. The empty sentiment omnipresent in their songs forms a vicious circle live – they sing about “doing it for the people”, who in turn respond with unabated glee (throwing nine pint cups per minute due to the wanton abandon that Kasabian provoke), spurring Meighan’s foolhardy ego on. It makes pooping back and forth forever look appealing…

By second number, ‘Shoot The Runner’, it becomes pretty clear that this is The Tom Meighan Show – the lesser band members know their place, occasionally twitching like press puppets yet utterly unresponsive to the crowd, without a hint of interaction or intuition between them. Whenever it’s not Meighan’s turn to take the limelight – during an instrumental part or song led by Serge’s nasal tones – he disappears offstage. You can only hope it’s a sign of inner band strife that’ll cause them to split within a few years.

“This place is fucking like Tracy Island,” contributes Meighan by way of the obligatory wonderment bands must show at playing in front of the two space age biomes. “Like Thunderbirds.” Jolly glad you cleared that up for us, cheers. He misses his cue to come in on ‘Processed Beats’ yet struts on smug and self-satisfied, asking for hands in the air again, then tells us we’re “fucking empire!” (no prizes for guessing what comes next). A trumpeter appears for the mildly Baltic influenced ‘Where Did All The Love Go’, which has all the cultural nous of a football fan who’s been to Latvia once for a match, ‘Thick As Thieves’ is a note for note rip off of The Beatles’ ‘I’m Only Sleeping’, but the crowd’s swaying, men are topless and hugging and there’s a thousand mobile phones in the air. What’s wrong with people?! ‘Fire’ has the tuneless football terrace roar of 90% of their songs, a technique defended by a bloke next to us – “they don’t need words, their songs are so fucking brilliant that they can really tug your heartstrings without them y’know?” Mm. By ‘Club Foot’, Meighan’s caught on to exactly the same thing, so doesn’t even bother articulating the lyrics. To avoid the crush for the car parks, we escape the encore, but hear the notes of a cod ‘You Got The Love’ cover float up past the visitor centre (first line: “sometimes I feel like putting my hands up in the air”), the crowd roaring along euphorically. Debate over monkeys and clay figures aside, this is a cultural devolution that must be fought, defeated and crushed.

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