WHERE’S YOUR HEAD AT?
The Barclaycard Mercury Prize Sessions return
by Lucas Barnfield
The Barclaycard Mercury Prize Sessions takes a sonic leap with stunning headline performances from Neneh Cherry, The Horrors and Basement Jaxx at the Hospital Club.
At each session, artists played a set in front of a studio audience to be broadcast on Channel 4. The Hospital Club, provided an intimate party atmosphere, decked out with an impressive stage light installation of red and blue shards that pierced through the air.
The 80’s cutting edge female pop artist, Neneh Cherry took the stage with attitude, belting out an eclectic kinetic performance that would rival any of today’s wayward female stars. As Neneh began her third song the microphone slipped off the stand onto the floor. With a smirk, she declared "They said that if I mess up, I could start again for the telly”. With a stripped back band, made-up of a drummer and a keyboard player she belted some staggering tracks from her new album. With material this good, 2014, could prove to be a big comeback for Neneh.
After a quick smoke and a complementary beer, the audience flood back to the floor, greeted by the familiar face of Farris Badwan, lead singer of The Horrors.
The Horrors took the indie punk scene in 2006 and have never looked back. With their awkward confidence they played a great mix of old tracks and new material from their recent album, ‘Luminous’. 'So know you now' their latest single possesses a haunting but anthemic quality to it, akin to Simple Minds and The Cure, whilst rhythmic 'Chasing Shadows' has been written as a techno track. These eclectic inspirations give the set a unique and vibrant feel, proving their sound has evolved from their goth inspired first album.
Eagerly waiting for the next set, the MC “reminded” the audience that we are not at a karaoke night. However, these words of warning got quickly forgotten as Felix Buxton and Simon Ratcliffe of Basement Jaxx took to the stage and got the audience to groove to the electro-punk ferocity of ‘Where’s Your Head At?’ and ‘Good Luck’.
The band’s line-up was impressive, with bongos, decks, guitars, drums and trumpets. Each track was met with a mighty roar and an electric ray of colour; with dancers in full-body glow-in-the dark neon suits treating the crowd to a tribal dance moves during musical interludes. With a camp and animated performance that bought the house down, these dance pioneers prove that they can stand the test of time.
You can see the Barclaycard Mercury Prize Sessions on Channel 4 in May.