wed 23/09/2020

Frost, The Lexington | reviews, news & interviews

Frost, The Lexington

Frost, The Lexington

Lively pub night hosts eclectic, and almost completely Scandinavian, musical turns

Frost: snappy techno pop for a devoted crowd

The Lexington on Pentonville Road is a pub with an easy-going Deep South style. The main bar looks like the sort of place where cattle barons might relax with basque-clad floozies after a hard week kicking homesteaders off their land. Instead, however, the place has a smattering of people, mostly in their twenties, a number with large sideburns and Stooges T-shirts, listening to a New Zealander called Delaney Davidson playing solo blues.

The Lexington on Pentonville Road is a pub with an easy-going Deep South style. The main bar looks like the sort of place where cattle barons might relax with basque-clad floozies after a hard week kicking homesteaders off their land. Instead, however, the place has a smattering of people, mostly in their twenties, a number with large sideburns and Stooges T-shirts, listening to a New Zealander called Delaney Davidson playing solo blues.

Davidson is a cross between one-man-band Son of Dave and The Cramps. He samples himself, plays off a rhythm track and drops drily amusing remarks in-between numbers. His penultimate song is a tasty version of the Gothic blues classic “In the Pines”, made famous most recently by Nirvana in their MTV Unplugged set. Before it he announces, “Another two songs before I have to give over to the… er… electronica. Hope you’re going to enjoy that as much as I am,” in the same tone John Peel used to adopt when introducing Keith Harris and Orville.

Delaney Davidson may not be keen but the electronica is why I’m here. The night is called From Norway With Love in The Lexington’s upper room, and presents a cross section of new sounds from the Scandinavian country. The space doesn’t have the same bordello schtick as the downstairs bar but boasts a cool loungey vibe. It is initially half-full, many of those in attendance being handsome Scandinavian men and women, which is no bad thing. On stage, in a pale denim shirt, under a mop of blond hair, is Jon-Eirik Boska – AKA 24-year-old dance artist Boska. He looks like Peter Tork from The Monkees, a fact I mention to various young hipsters on couches, but no one has heard of The Monkees, let alone Tork, ensuring my disco grandad status. The music is bass-heavy house by way of techno, bubbling out of a laptop with a big smiley sticker on it. It’s faceless and efficient and if this was a nightclub at 3am, things would be cruising along nicely. As it is, it’s not the sort of music to lively up a pub at 8.30pm. For those into smart tech-house grooves, however, Boska is a name to watch.

Martinsen sits at a drum kit with a laptop by his side, wearing a waistcoat and serious expression

Headlining the evening are Frost, a duo consisting of Aggie Peterson and Per Martinsen, who have been producing music in their current formation for just over a decade. They have a couple of albums under their belt (a third created by an old line-up). They major in electronic pop that’s sometimes tinted with the glacial chill of their far northern hometown of Tromsø. Martinsen sits at a drum kit with a laptop by his side, wearing a waistcoat and serious expression, the straight man to Peterson’s exotic alt-disco queen in glittery trousers and an audacious batwing cardigan. The drum-heavy live sound adds va-va-voom to their electropop and by the second number, “My Plastic Heart”, they’ve hit their stride with Peterson dancing like Cleopatra and relaxing. It is their new number, “Into the Woods”, however, that really perks things up. The previously empty dance floor slowly fills with all the tastemaker couch-dwellers. It’s a luscious song, a real treat comparable to the wonderful Ladytron’s recent work.

Behind the duo is a dark curtain low-lit with red light and Peterson rightly observes that the stage is very David Lynch before breaking into the Prince track “Sex Shooter” with relish. Throughout the evening she wears a series of collars, feathered, jewelled, even a mask that has a touch of The Knife about it. Another new song, “The Magician”, bodes very well for the duo’s new album, if they have time for it between their parallel career in art installation and creating bizarre online meta-novels (Martinsen has also had a long career as techno don Mental Overdrive - check out his You Are Being Manipulated album – it’s as excellent as anything by Vitalic). “One Hundred Years” features a spectacular operatic vocal from Peterson and “Parade” brings out a smidgeon of dubstep bass, then it’s into the final streak with “Sleepwalker” being cannily dedicated to those who “haven’t noticed what’s going on at Wall Street”. The version is delivered at techno ramming speed and concludes a fine feisty performance to a small but devoted crowd.

Watch the video for "Sleepwalker"

They major in electronic pop that’s sometimes tinted with the glacial chill of their far northern hometown of Tromsø

rating

Editor Rating: 
3
Average: 3 (1 vote)

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