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Yesterday, I received a text message notifying me of a band worth seeing, and so I went along to a place called Madame Jojo's in Soho, seeing 3 acts.

First up was a guy named Lee Simeone; basically a gothoid in a black leather jacket playing a battered Roland keyboard in minor key over vaguely Skinny Puppy-esque backing tracks (pounding industrial rhythms, metallic clanging, slowed-down reverbed breath sounds and other sp00ky stuff like that) seemingly coming off a desktop PC he brought with him, and singing over that. It was basically somewhere in the industrial/EBM/darkwave family of things. The music sounded reasonably well put together, but like many computer-based performers, he didn't really put on much of an act, just staying behind the keyboard.

Next up was a band named Messiah (or perhaps Messiäh or something), who were fairly classicist metal. They had the hair, the costumes, the theatrics, the virtuoso guitar solos and the works. They didn't do anything that hasn't been done before, but they did do a good job of it.

Finally there was Suzerain, the band I went along to see, who were rather impressive. Think Duran Duran meets early NIN and various 80s pop outfits (as an Australian, I was reminded of Icehouse at one point). They had a good mix of guitar/bass and synths, a good look, charismatic stage presence, tight musicianship, and a keen grasp of the pop songwriting sensibility; their lyrics and melodies were very skilfully crafted. I expect that, all other things being equal, they should land a record deal pretty quickly.
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On February 6th, 2005 10:38 pm (UTC), wiresofdream commented:
Madame JoJo's gig 12th.Jan
Well I was at this gig at madame JoJo's and I think your comment about that Simeone guy was quite unfair. Just because your taste is different there is no need to slag him off!. I was told that Simeone had all self-produced material by the sound man. I bought his CD at the end which is great and found his website leesimeone.co.uk he has a good following & is very talented. I think Simeone sounded better at vocals then the Suzerain outfit's lead singer he was so trying to be Bowie but failed with his out of tune vocal. There music was good but they could have done with a better vocalist. The second band were good I think they had some good harmonies. I think maybe this guy Simeone & the other bands didnt mix because they were different styles. As for Simeone not putting on much of act it was ambient music and even Jean Michel Jarre has to rely on laser light shows. He really should have been somewhere else with a better audience then the one at Madame JoJo's which was full of council estate youths (scum).

Claire Read
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On February 6th, 2005 11:44 pm (UTC), kineticfactory replied:
Re: Madame JoJo's gig 12th.Jan
Making music on a computer or in a studio is one thing; actually bringing it to an audience is an entirely different matter. IMHO, just standing behind the computer and moving a mouse does not give the audience anything to look at, or any benefit over just putting a CD on on their home stereo. Had he had visuals projected behind him (much as Kraftwerk do in their shows), or had some theatrical element (costumes, strap-on keyboards, or actually moving about and engaging the audience*), his show would have been more interesting.

As for my comment being unfair, it was a post in my journal pointing out that (a) Mr. Simeone spent the set standing behind a computer, and (b) that, in my opinion, that in itself does not make for an exciting live gig. (And I've seen a lot of live gigs, many of which were much more exciting.) Note that my only assessment of the music was that it was "reasonably well put together", which in my book isn't exactly "slagging him off". Which is all a lot less unfair than, say, categorising a band's entire following as "council estate scum".

* for an example of a (London-based) electropop group that does this well, see Schmoof.
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