Gig Review by John Kennedy
Gig Photos by Ian Dunn

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It was blowing a bostin’ Brummie blizzard and January’s a five-week payday stretch so with just two quid in what was not to like?. Electroflex played unashamedly retro synthbeats with the female singer drenched in reverb echoes and a guy on Keytar and assorted AppleMac twiddlings. It was atmospherically moody, with one song having sepulchrally stalker-themed slabs of electro-gloom. Sincere and energetic, if not perilously close to kitsch generic at times, they celebrate the analogue/digital electronica iconography with plucky, unabashed nostalgia. And, their Facebook feature image is a ZX Spectrum keypad. How Space-Hopper uplifting is that?

Electroflex

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Local boys, Johnny Normal and Psycho Pete are a cultural genre clash. Swirly dirge synth-frenetic beats and ersatz Les Paul rock guitar reverb power-riffs were backed by an anonymous drum machine. This was machismo time-machine retro Moseley writ large. Picture Hawkwind, having consuming an industrial-grade stash of red Lebanese, being coerced into recording a commercial album produced by Giorgio Moroder. Or, Joe Meek’s bastard son seeking analog revenge. Snatches of 70s TV Sci-Fi themes blended seamlessly, if not inexplicably, with Psycho Pete on teeth-pickin’ guitar. Hey! Far out and utterly groovy or what? Set closer was a snowy night’s irony-free thigh-thruster cover of ’20th Century Boy’ by someone whose last hit was an oak tree.

Johnny Normal

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Headlining was the gorgeously dressed and precipitously fringed Elmo Sexwhistle. Honestly, the names parents choose back in the mid 80s! It’s default Keytar/keyboards again but back-lined by some seriously focused good old guitar and bass. From the opening brief hammer blast of electro funk minimalism segueing into what seemed a pre-programmed interpretation of a spacecraft being sick the set was an inspired poseur potpourri of giddy eccentricity. Variety being the spice we had Bowie, Gabriel and Human League covers liberally scattered throughout the evening. Whether in distressed Depeche anger-Funk mode or Classical-Prog/über Jazz – all was devil may care synthphonic. And, that takes some serious musicianship. Johnny & Edgar Winter were in there somewhere as were suspicious nuances of Kurt Weill wrapped-up in a monster-mash dance groove. Or, was it Marc Almond lost in a Tangerine Dream singing Kraut-Rock? Whatever. Highly entertaining and extremely promising (with a caveat on the covers and knob gags, obviously).

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