Live Review: Stealing Sheep / Simian Ghost

7th June - The Lexington, London.

Thursday night saw two of the Gigseen team head down to London's The Lexington to witness a gig put on by renowned purveyors of new music 'The Line Of Best Fit', in conjunction with Clash magazine. Featured on the bill were Rough Fields (who we missed unfortunately), Simian Ghost and headliners, Stealing Sheep.

A collaborative review for this one. Simian Ghost's set covered by Kate, and Stealing Sheep covered by Grim - Just so as folks know who to address any hate mail to!

Swedish Electronic-Pop trio, Simian Ghost, are one of those bands that come to life while playing live. At first, I was dubious about the presence of a backing track, but they proved very quickly to be unique in their approach.

Initially cynical, Simian Ghost intrigued me from start to finish. Playing the majority of tracks from their newly released album, Youth, they performed a hypnotising set; highly complex and multi-layered. The guitarist, in-between executing some rather endearing dance moves, was concentrating on orchestrating some technical loop effects, meanwhile lead singer (and brainchild of the group), Sebastian Arnström, was also creating elaborate textures and atmospheres using loop technology. Together, and teamed with the accomplished drummer, they produced something engaging and beautiful.

Their synth-infused Pop was embellished with the layering of harmonies, compelling vocal sound effects and penetrating melodies. Although elements of dreamy shoe-gaze style seep in and out of each track, their music and songwriting is typical of the talent coming from Scandinavia right now; perfect pop songs, lush and sweet.

The band's personalities and confidence really shone through during their set; humorous and polite, but mainly just enjoying the event. Towards the end of their set, Sebastian stepped off the stage, microphone lead entwined around the back of his neck, beer in hand, and walked backwards into the crowd taking in the view of the stage as he sang. Leaping back up to the stage to get back to processing the music sequencer, the final chords and remnants of electronic buzz were left reverberating around the small venue.

Simian Ghost delivered a captivating performance, showing an inventiveness and approach to music that left the whole crowd wanting more.

Total agreement on all the above from me [Grim]. Simian Ghost were most impressive, I have a feeling The Lexington really brings out the best in bands, never had a bad night there yet - It's cosy enough to be personal, but still fills up to a couple hundred? capacity, which must be a 'sweet-spot' number for a enjoyable gig. Apparently the night had sold out and by the time Stealing Sheep started up the venue was full, but mysteriously thin on the ground up at the front which was odd. I really can't imaginee folks being scared enough to hide up the back by the three girls from Stealing Sheep. No chance.

Thursday night's set from Stealing Sheep was to be blatant - wonderful and mesmeric. I can't remember the last time I saw a band perform where the balance between the members was so near perfect. Becky (keyboards), Lucy (Drums) and Emily (Guitar) each contribute musically, and together vocally are what make Stealing Sheep's sound so special. Harmonised to a tee and ethereal. The set began witha short a capella intro and then on into I Am The Rain, which was the single released a couple of months back as the band started to get some serious airplay.

Truth be told I only recognised a third of the songs played, and that's despite the fact that I've managed to collect all the band's EPs released so far. The girls post-gig were taxied off rapidly to a Radio 1 interview (some watch-tapping was involved in Simian Ghost's set being a little shorter than it could have been...) and during the chat with Nick Grimshaw, the month of September was marked as the time to expect a full album from Stealing Sheep - Thus explaining why we heard a lot of new tracks. They're done, dusted and ready to go, and judging by what was showcased, the LP should turn out to be one of this year's finest.

Highlight for me was We Like The Dark, a new one which was beautiful in a slightly creepy manner (beautiful / creepy in a kind of 'Bagpuss' way if that makes any sense to anyone aside from myself) - something that could be said about many of the band's best tunes. The song was followed up with latest single Shut Eye, a track that has an uncanny habit of popping up randomly on TV in recent weeks.

Closing proceedings for the evening (twelve tracks in all) was a charmingly liquid version of Your Saddest Song and an evidently pleased trio of young ladies rushed off to do the Radio 1 thing. They enjoyed themselves, the audience certainly enjoyed themselves (including Simian Ghost enthusing from the front) so all round a completely successful performance at the Lexy. We look forward to September and the debut LP.

(Find a 40-min OK-ish 'bootleg' of Stealing Sheep's set on Mixcloud)