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- The Rapture »
It's the clatter of a cowbell that sparks the stage invasion. Everybody knows what song that means. Speaker stacks are knocked to the ground, the stage floods with people, someone grabs a microphone and screams... _"HOUSE OF! JEALOUS LOVERS! SHAKEDOWN!"_. Guitarist Luke Jenner throws one arm in the air then slashes awkwardly at his guitar, apparently as much concerned for his dancing as his playing. The sold-out gig is just over half full, presumably thanks to tonight's blackout in London, but everyone who's made it is determined to enjoy themselves.
The Rapture take to the stage with the unmistakable bass riff of 'Out Of The Races'. The drums lock in time, a voice rises above the sound of the crowd and people drift in from the bar next-door. The band start to bounce up and down and the audience follow suit. They play 'Olio' with a kick-drum that could battle Voodoo Ray and a vocal that could fool Robert Smith's own mother. The new version shows exactly how far the band have come in a year, with the song evolving to four minutes of handclaps, kick drums and a hi-hat shuffle that fight for attention like a classic acid house record. 'The Coming of Spring' takes us back to familiar territory - taut, abrasive guitars set against a disco beat, while 'Sister Saviour'illustrates exactly where the **Happy Mondays** comparisons have come from. Shards of light dart from a giant mirrorball as the band bounce through 'I Need Your Love'. It sounds like Chic given the DFA treatment - guitars jar instead of glide, the slap bass replaced by a synthetic pulse.
A couple of songs don't match ambition with inspiration, but credit where it's due, they don't simply turn out ten xeroxes of _'House of Jealous Lovers' _either. Even the handful of songs that sound flat on record come alive tonight. What's more, the Rapture's influences are broader than their detractors claim. Yes, there's the lolloping low-slung funk of the Mondays and the angular guitar shapes of Gang of Four, but listen a little longer and you'll hear strands of Chicago house, country rock and Bowie too.
The most striking thing about watching the Rapture live is their relentless energy. Tonight they offer more ideas, influences, verve and excitement than on record. They may fulfil the NYC hipster clichés - modish post-punk influences, DFA production, junkshop clothes - but, lest we forget, _'House of Jealous Lovers' _was the record that brought these things back into sharp focus in April 2002. The recent rediscovery of The Pop Group, **Gang of Four**, A Certain Ratio and friends is certainly more interesting than the half-arsed revivals we've suffered in recent years. But what's been missing until now was a band prepared to do something original with those influences. Long after the current talk of punk-funk is a distant memory, The Rapture should be making records every bit as exciting as their live shows.
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