Let’s cut straight to it. Daniel Romano’s slick new outfit, Ancient Shapes, may well be the best live band I’ve ever seen. Angry, edgy and purposeful, The Shapes were the type of band which force you into believing in the transformative power of live music; they looked like a live act should look, they sounded like a live act should sound, and they played like how a live act should; like this was their last ever show.
Shaping their show around a theme of rebellion, and most probably one of teenage rebellion, Shapes’ style mixes pieces of 60s mod culture (sharp suits, dandy outfits, a cover of ‘Can’t explain’), with interesting psychedelic grooves (light moments of Tame Impala) and edgy 50’s rock ‘n roll sonics (pretty much anyone from Sun studios) before blending it into a stage presentation styled on the best of high energy punk (‘At the drive in’ and ‘The Mc5’). Combined this was a mix which created the type of high energy, deeply impactful, dangerous, rock n’ roll you often hear about, but rarely see.
On fine form tonight Ramano plays the angry rebellious role of crowd ringleader perfectly, avoiding any overly emotive moments of dismay and fury, like say a Johnny Rotten, and instead sticking with a beyond-energetic style reminiscent of Jerry Lee Lewis and his blend of rebellion originating from sudden, explosive, releases of pent-up frustration.
Wrapped around 2 minute bursts of 60’s r and b/punk flavours, with highlights including ‘Transparent brain’ and ‘The flower that wouldn’t bloom’, Ancients end their set with ‘Teenager’, a perfect full stop to their lecture about the need for youth-led subcultures and rebellions, and proof that the best live shows always have a point. Superb.