THE KVB

Prog - - Limelight - JU­LIAN MARSZALEK

So is there any black in a rain­bow? it’s a ques­tion that nags as The

KVB bring a shroud of dark­ness around the usu­ally mul­ti­coloured id­iom of psychedelia. not for them a swirl of lights and giddy eu­pho­ria, but a pre­sen­ta­tion that’s as aus­tere and glacial as the elec­tron­i­cally driven mu­sic they present tonight.

The duo of singer/gui­tarist ni­cholas wood and singer/key­boardist Kat day have clearly been stung by pre­vi­ous crit­i­cisms of their on­stage per­for­mances that have oc­ca­sion­ally gone be­yond in­sou­ciance and into the realms of the ut­terly dis­pas­sion­ate. The more for­giv­ing might have put this down to the ten­der­ness of their years, or quite pos­si­bly a stage­craft ham­pered by shy­ness or stage fright, but the fact re­mains that their aloof­ness proved alien­at­ing to many au­di­ences.

not so tonight – wood is clearly rel­ish­ing his time on stage. Though his voice barely rises above a whis­per at cer­tain junc­tures – for in­stance, al­ways Then – his treated and flanged gui­tar blends seam­lessly with the beats as a va­ri­ety of throbs and drones em­anate from day’s cor­ner. and on more than one oc­ca­sion, the once‑static mu­si­cian stalks across the stage with his in­stru­ment while ex­hort­ing re­ac­tions from his au­di­ence.

For her part, day still plays the role of the ice maiden, but rather than any dis­dain for those gath­ered here tonight, this is more down to her con­cen­tra­tion, as she pre­sides over an ar­ray of key­boards, se­quencers and mix­ers.

The mech­a­nised beats that drive

The KVB’s sound are do­ing their job, and there’s an en­cour­age­ment to be had in see­ing a lon­don au­di­ence ac­tu­ally mov­ing in time with the mu­sic.

The band are canny enough to re­alise that the pre­sen­ta­tion of just two mu­si­cians on stage – one of whom is an­chored be­hind a bank of elec­tronic weaponry – pro­vides hardly any vis­ual sat­is­fac­tion, so it’s to their credit that their icy mu­sic is ac­com­pa­nied by a wall of pre­pro­grammed vi­su­als that dom­i­nate the rear of the stage. images of bru­tal­ist ar­chi­tec­ture, iron struc­tures and des­o­late, in­dus­trial land­scapes are all present and cor­rect, and the shots of the slowly break­ing ice floes that com­ple­ment the chill of in deep are a par­tic­u­larly nice touch.

not all of it works, un­for­tu­nately.

For in­stance, their re­work­ing of the rolling Stones’ Sym­pa­thy For The devil is a se­ri­ous mis­fire. The funk of the orig­i­nal song is re­placed with a mar­tial de­liv­ery, and its men­ace is to­tally lost thanks to what ap­pears to be an un­fa­mil­iar­ity with the char­ac­ters that lie at the heart of the song, as well as a rather cut’n’paste ap­proach to the lyrics.

The hooks of never enough re­deem the band though, and prove that there’s black run­ning through this rain­bow like the colours through a stick of rock.

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