Live Review
Old Street, London

At quarter past eleven, CAMP Basement contains just 40 people, give or take some smoking stragglers outside. Those in attendance seem bemused at the low turnout – seems we all expected a roadblock for this mid-week nugget of sensual synth grooves and retro-future-trance, ‘cos everyone loves retro-future-trance, right? Anyway, Blondes take their position behind an impossible patchwork of hardware, keys and cables, embarking on a slowly building set that gently coaxes us into its ambiguous emotions, involving and evolving through discordant horns, fuzzy analogue warmth and big, big beats.

On record it seems cerebral, almost cold, but by the set’s halfway mark we’ve got a rag-tag anti-rave going on down here, 40 of us locked into the beat, arms raised and heads nodding like clockwork. Zach Steinman, one half of the Ohio-via-Brooklyn-via-Berlin duo, says of the semi-improvised show, “I’m not really sure if it would work in a huge club. If someone tried that I’d be scared.” Don’t buy it. Despite the low turnout, Blondes could easily wave their hypnotic rave wands over a huge club – or better, an arboreal summer festival – and have a thousand-strong crowd tie-dyed in knots for their elegantly engineered free-flowing trance.

By Chal Ravens

Originally published in issue 29 (vol 3) of Loud And Quiet. June 2011