As King Tut’s Summer Nights gathers pace, four acts gather on the famous stage preparing to make a bid for stardom.
For the standout act of the evening, Apache Darling, it seems like nothing less than being the biggest pop act in the world will be enough, but our first act seem happy with more modest goals.
Stripped back to rudimentary beats and a few additional guitar and keyboard parts (and an impressive moustache) Miracle Strip are an indie-electro duo with a touch of Sparks’ aloof elocution.
Lyrically they’re a little adrift and choosing to release your EP on cassette deserves to be a black mark on anyone’s record (note: the editor disagrees; we love tapes, keep them coming), but their final extended electro workout gets a few feet shuffling.
The variety of styles on show is both a strength and weakness of the Summer Nights series, but Le Thug seem equally happy letting their music wash over the audience.
Their cool female vocals evoke Elizabeth Fraser from Cocteau Twins; melodies drifting like icebergs over a shoegaze background.
With a clear debt to eighties power balladeers like Bonnie Tyler and their own hashtag (#thenewpop), Apache Darling should be almost unbearable
Instead they’re the band who gives the night an overdue kick up the arse, effortlessly mastering electro and power pop with huge charm
They’re not quite ready for a smash debut yet; some of their melodies are little fussy, but it’s rare to find a band who so brilliantly channel all that is great about pop music and make it look so effortless.
Tracks like ‘Go’ and ‘More than Me’ are the sound of magpie-like 21st century approach to pop history that practically fizzes with life.
They’re masters of pacing too, following a show-stopping ballad with an irrepressible power pop cover of Katy Perry’s ‘Hot and Cold’.
Keep your eye on Apache Darling, because the sky could be the limit.
Finally our headliners take to the stage; remarkably youthful and dressed they like just stumbled out of a Topman ad, AmatrArt sound exactly how you expect five skinny white guys to sound post-Foals/Alt J.
The quintet is impressively tight, adding muscular layers to their singer’s unfortunately indecipherable vocals.
The portentously named ‘Delirium Tremens’ aims for the gravitas of Radiohead or Bloc Party, culminating in a final spasm that recalls the guitar heavy call to arms of Foals’ Total Life Forever.
Words: Max Sefton
Photos: Elina Lin