It seems the children of Britpop have grown up and are making a racket of their own. This kind of baggage will follow Kasabian around till their demise at the hands of overzealous Primal Scream fans and/or angry coke dealers. While Kasabian’s records might well represent what is wrong with today’s music i.e. overproduction, an overwrought sense of relevancy, lyrics that are basically an afterthought, swagger over substance and the predilection to suckling at your forefathers’ teats; their live shows represent everything that is right. Who put such a high premium on substance anyway?
The setlist is comprised of Kasabian’s various wheelings and dealings: Shoot the Runner, Underdog, Where Aid All the Love Go?, Reason is Treason and other songs with similarly pseudo-revolutionary titles. Guitarist Serge Pizzorno takes the lead on quasi-Arabian Nights’ cut Take Aim, which sounds embarrassingly similar to Flight of the Concords’ Boom.
Somewhere in the haze, we come to Julie and the Mothman. This b-side contains some of Meighan’s most tender and stimulating lyrics such as ‘And there is one minute, minute a mile/I’m fucking in the alley ways, you know my style’ and ‘I am a mothman/I wanna eat right through your clothes/I wanna take you out for dinner/I’ll treat you good like an English rose.’ Lord Byron, eat your heart out. Of course it all culminates in the passion of: ‘Ah Julie, Julie wanna hit you with a frying pan/Ah Julie, Julie wanna hit you, wanna hurt you, wanna shoot you through a cat scan.’
This is possibly the best Kasabian song ever written. If I Heard Her Call My Name was wholly representative of what made The Velvet Underground so good then Julie and the Mothman is Kasabian’s quintessence. Though the lyrics are ridiculous and many of the electronic warps and beeps verge on the nauseating, the song is damn infectious. The rhythmic, sub-hip hop delivery of the knuckleheaded lyrics and gritty instrumentation make it utterly enjoyable. It twice fuels my crowd surfing. It’s Kasabian’s ability to combine the boneheaded with the catchy and then deliver without restraint that makes them worthwhile.
Though occasionally you struggle to remember if you’re at a concert or a soccer riot, there’s always a distorted bassline or break beat fill to ground you. The band isn’t as spineless as their bluster would have you believe. Still, the constant posing makes Kasabian less of a band and more of a photo op. Just try to focus on all the good things I mentioned.