UPDATE: Listen to Clock Opera’s forthcoming 7″ ‘Belongings’ here:

Not to sound like a stuck record or anything but you really need  little Clock Opera in your life.

Last night I caught the band headlining the third of a series of nights curated by the stylish folk at Lyle & Scott at London’s XOYO. Yet again the gang delivered a barnstorming performance and no doubt garnered a few more admirers ahead of a rumoured LP launch later this year.

Opening proceedings early on were I Only Date Models who, despite their achingly embarrassing ironic name, made a decent racket. The overall sound was something along the lines of the Maccabees minus the harmonies, charm and interesting lyrics: nothing ground-breaking. In between acts the usual incongruous iTunes song shuffle heard over the PA was billed as the ubiquitous ‘LastFM DJs’. These people pop up everywhere these days – anyone know their story? Are they actually DJ-ing from LastFM? How do you qualify to be one of these mysterious characters? Do they stage West Side Story-style cat-fights around Shoreditch with the Spotify DJs?

Manchester band May68 followed next with a tight mix of electronics, drums and guitars topped off with great vocals. The lead singer lacks the punch of the great Karen O but got better and better during the set and the overall sound certainly had a Yeah Yeah Yeahs-like urgency and bounce about it with tracks like ‘Eating Out of My Hand’ getting the crowd throwing the customary angular shapes for the first time during the evening.

Clock Opera certainly didn’t disappoint. As good as ever, the band played a tight 7-song set that was rapturously received by the crowd. Their chop-pop style comes across brilliantly live with the clipped electronic lines and frantic guitar riffs amplified by some inventive drumming and such frenzied dancing  from Connelly that he would surely give Thom Yorke a run for his money at the ‘twitch-step’. Only recent release ‘Once And For All’ fails to match the swell of noise on the record, nevertheless Connelly’s delicate vocals carry the song forward.

UPDATE: Clock Opera – Once And For All [Official Video]

Future single ‘Belongings’ is a magical combination of  simple call and response vocals and a wall of sound that eventually breaks into a furious combination of guitar and drums only matched by their show-stealing last number, ‘Lesson No. 7’, which sees me and few others bursting into some Ian Curtis-inspired limbs-akimbo marching.

The only dampener on the evening was the ever-present intrusion of photographers and cameramen intent on capturing every note, look, move and drumbeat at the expense of the punters and, I imagine, the artists. No doubt this was at the request of Lyle & Scott but I’ve always felt that the skill of a good music photographer lies in their ability not to disturb what they’re capturing. What with these guys flitting here and there, and the fact that everyone from the band to the barmen were decked out in Lyle & Scott, the sense of a ‘branded night’ did come across a little too strongly at times. However, it was a fantastic little night overall and credit to Lyle & Scott for bringing attention to some great bands in the perfect setting – despite a shaky start and patchy PA, XOYO is undoubtedly a great space, ensuring nights are kept simple and intimate. Onwards and upwards for all involved and look out for Clock Opera deservedly making waves next month at SXSW.

Clock Opera – ‘Piece of String’

May68 – ‘My Ways’

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