Icy Demons / a.P.A.t.T. / Balloons POST MUSIC Gossip

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Icy Demons / a.P.A.t.T. / Balloons @ The Kazimier, Liverpool



Lazy comparisons. Shit, aren’t they? And Balloons had best get used to them, because frontman Tom’s tremulous yelp means that they’re going to become quite familiar with superficial Sparks references. Look a little closer, however, and there’s much more to be heard in their perkily peculiar pop: the synthetic funk of prime Devo, the devil-may-care weirdness of the Swell Maps… even the grandly surreal lurchings of proto-Blur oddballs Seymour. The pulsing energy of their tremendous set coalesces into post-punk jerks and highly danceable quirks, and the stupid grins plastered onto the faces of all present prove that Balloons put on a darn good show. It’s gonna be so fucking exciting to see what their potential could develop into.


Absurdist faves a.P.A.t.T., meanwhile, are well into their second decade of existence. Let’s not even consider the number of line-up changes that have been weathered in that time. Or, for that matter, just how many musical genres have been absorbed and systematically annihilated by their decidedly non-linear approach. Tonight they’re dealing mainly in prog-funk with a smattering of avant-folk, but frankly their scope is so broad that it’s difficult to pin them down to mere taggery. To watch a.P.A.t.T. is to realise that you know nothing about music. And goddammit, they’re fun too.


And then there’s tonight’s headliners, Icy Demons. Cut from a similarly adventurous cloth to their support, the Chicago quartet’s sound is underpinned by funk grooves not a million miles away from the Beastie Boys’ instrumental jams. Coupled with their relatively-outré melodic sensibilities and a drummer who casually blows The Fly’s feeble mind, they’re a seriously demented but unbelievably exciting live act. There’n definitely a hip-hop root here, but it’s been cut up, chewed and spat out into barely-recognisable shapes – ‘prog-hop’, as your humble reviewer overhears someone else calling it. Experimental music is often derided for being either self-consciously wacky or chin-strokingly over-serious. Refreshingly, Icy Demons are neither. Live music should always bring this much joy.

Words by Will Fitzpatrick
Pictures by David Smyth
Video by GM