It’s dark, and there’s a topless man drumming in the middle of the crowd, a strobe light between his feet. How did the night end like this? Mezefest09 has shown talismanic faith in the new and triumphant: all you need to do is spend very few pounds and open your brain up. Into this leap of faith oasis bang Sincabeza, four French dudes who can sound a little arid on record, but tonight go balls out lysergically mental. They splurge horizontally through the audience, and likewise their music: instrumental squiggles and massive blocks of colour that somehow dance around Slint, LCD Soundsystem and Truckers Of Husk, then stop on a dime. The perfect compliment to the mass of green dots splashing from the Meze light system and one of the best things I’ve seen this year.
Halfway through Snorkel‘s set of killer instrumentals, they drop in a slow, moody piece. This may be a mistake on a Saturday night in Newport. “You’re shit…” mingles with the dub. Prior to and after this they mine a great seam of spy flick-addled music that darts nimbly over heavy bass weight and roughly added live trombone. If you’re in a hurry: like Bass Clef covering Pram. If not: these four Londoners layer darkly propulsive, cinematic noise with stoic intent and glum faces, and have a keyboard player that looks and jigs like Chris Martin. Get it in yer.
Which brings us back to crowding round a sweating, drumming male torso. Publicist is the nom du rhythm of Sebastian Thomson, sticksman for Trans Am and Weird War. Naming his previous employers doesn’t do much for clarity though: Thomson’s MO is frazzled, monomaniacal disco, where barely there vocodered vocals ride over endless variations on “groovy”. That’s uptempo, solid backbone groovy by the way, and pretty decent as it goes. Semi-nudity, live tromboning and superlative Frenchmen are par for the course this month though. You can have it all if you want.