Mouse On Mars @ Amplifier, Perth (03/11/10)
Mouse On Mars are one of those obscure but brilliant bands. Those that know them, love them. Those that don’t have absolutely no idea what they’re missing out on. The audience who were at the Amplifier on Wednesday night, even if there weren’t many there, witnessed one of the most mind-blowing evenings of electronica that Perth is likely to see in 2010. Tomas Ford and the Voltaire Twins supported and almost made the gig worthwhile on their own.
It may be hard to believe, but Tomas Ford improves with every show. No longer quite the punk provocateur he once was, Ford has moved into an impressively professional and polished style and it suits him. Wednesday was the official opening to his National Birthday Party Tour and the almost embarrassingly small crowd was treated to a taster of what will be a very exciting tour.
Beginning with Nice from Ford’s upcoming album, Tomas Ford vs The Audience , the man was on fire from the very first second. Launching into the audience with glee from Ford and audience members alike, his showmanship is still second to none in this state and even possibly this country. Musically, Ford’s set consisted mainly of newer material that kept the crowd guessing what would happen next and proved to be refreshing rather than the limitation that new material often is, and a nifty new outfit -the details of which will remain a surprise for his next audiences. Finishing with Cuddle, Ford’s set ended with an absolute love in (and carrying the man throughout the venue so he could kiss the door girl) and a gentle comedown from the excitement before he walked away and left the crowd grinning.
Next on stage were the Voltaire Twins – their first show since their adventure to New York. Although more of a traditional band show than Tomas Ford’s set, Voltaire Twins still provided the electro pop goods. Amongst their set were some impressive selections from their new Cabin Fever EP and favourites such as D.I.L . Whilst it was an enjoyable set, the Voltaire Twins just weren’t as effectively captivating as the rest of the lineup. It became difficult to tell if their on stage manner was just electro coolness or if their hearts really weren’t in it, and this was the Voltaire Twins’ downfall. The songs were still great, but it was difficult not to feel somewhat let down.
Twenty minutes after the Voltaire Twins had finished, an alarm was sounded. Mouse On Mars had landed in the Amplifier, and were ready to brutally implode every cranium in their presence. Gone are the days of Mouse On Mars being a ‘live band’, they have reverted back to their original form. Jan St. Werner and Andi Toma alone, behind a table featuring an artillery of machines, devices and audio weaponry. It must also be noted that the secret weapon on Wednesday night was whoever was behind the mixing desk. Not only did the opening acts sound fantastic, but Mouse On Mars would not have nearly had the same effect without.
Forget song titles though, in fact, forget almost everything, to see Mouse On Mars is an event no matter how they’re configured. Loud as fuck, their show was more a hurtling adventure through space than a gig. Granted the very occasional break, the rest of the evening was the sound of machines gone berserk. Vocal samples were manipulated into gibberish, melodies were twisted in every way possible, sound was mere putty to the fantastic German duo.
Some danced, some stood rock still as the sound took all control. Your humble reviewer suddenly found himself screaming “OH MY GOD!” throughout the final track for the night. The Amplifier was no longer a nightclub, it had somehow mutated into the dark side of the moon. It will not be an evening easily forgotten by those in attendance. In a word, brilliant.