Kasabian - Paradiso, Amsterdam, 27/10/04

"Who am I to stand in the way of progress?"

I'm sat downstairs in the new Paradiso bar, trying to have a quiet pint and listen to the dj (who was playing a surprisingly enjoyable selection of tunes), when I was surrounded by all these russet cheeked lithe-limbed kids, their eyes still bright and unstained by years of late night whisky drinking, drug ingestion and slack jawed pizza eating. How I envied them. But I was puzzled. I mean, are so many 18 year olds into Kasabian? I kid you not, there was a HUGE constituency of these youngsters running around the place; all of them carrying a form which they appeared to find necessary to fill out. What the fuck was going on? A school outing that had lost its way to the Van Gogh museum? I got annoyed and stalked out, right in the middle of "Dreams Never End" by New Order. What a pisser.


And another thing while I'm feeling rattled. Why start a gig at half past midnight? It's way past my bedtime. But, I suppose its cool and revolutionary, and free love and loose, man; which, I suspect, are attitudes that Kasabian would heartily approve of. After all, they are from Manchester. Indeed, during the gig, they kept asking if we were all "stoned", or "mad for it" or "rockin'". In fact, this Manchester thang was evident right throughout the evening, from the preponderance of Mondays tracks played beforehand, through the loose limbed dancing seen on stage to the nasal whine much beloved of the Madchester era. Oh God, I remember thinking; please don't turn these young, fresh faced innocents, these bambinos, onto pudding basin hell, don't turn them onto loose fit leisure wear, don't EVER raise the unholy spectre of Northside ever again...


For the unpalatable truth must be faced, and faced quickly. Kasabian, despite displaying an attitude that was really going for it, despite shattering drums, despite wanting to stretch their songs in a sincere and adventurous way, sounded like an UNHOLY mix of Placebo and Northside. Those Cromwellian guitar-dirge drives, the simple, single minded purpose of the songs themselves, (and the way they were presented, in clunking, loud work outs, absent of all wit, of all musical light and shade), all pointed to their lumpen predecessors. And yes, I saw Northside, and that's why I can say they reminded me of them. In fact one hilarious incident took me right back in time. After the second or third track someone, in a fit of odious bonhomie, (or pretend camaraderie) threw a City shirt on stage, which happened at the Northside gig at the Riverside in 1990. Weird, eh? It summed it all up for me, I can tell you. No matter; the kids lapped it up, which should be no surprise, really. This is how U2 must have sounded in 1980, and we all know the Dutch loved U2 long before anyone else did. (You know how much they dig those lumpy guitar work outs, 'follow me' singer histrionics, etc etc etc). Oh well, who am I to stand in the way of progress? After all, fashion fascists will doubtless soon tell us that it's nearly time for the Madchester revival. Just don't invite me.


Words : Richard Foster