"Well, you've definitely still got it, that's for sure," Jamie Reynolds breathlessly informs his audience. Hold on, aren't we meant to be the ones making that judgement about Klaxons? It's been three years since their debut album, Myths of the Near Future, rode the crest of nu rave to small-time era-defining status, and next month, their sophomore effort Surfing the Void arrives.
The majority of this hour-long, intimate set before a couple of hundred people was drawn from the new record. And most of it was pretty good, if perhaps not outstanding enough to repeat the group's Mercury Prize-winning achievements of three years ago. There was no great redrawing of battle lines, either – the most obvious musical change is in the emphasis on pounding, turned-up-high live drums and bass on tracks like the opening "Flashover" and "Same Space", rather than the formerly squealing keyboard riffs of the subtly rejigged "Gravity's Rainbow" and "Golden Skans".
Indeed, the show is so loud that it takes five musicians to handle it where once there were three. Founder members Reynolds, James Righton and Simon Taylor-Davis are joined by new full-time drummer Steffan Halperin, while Anthony Rossomando (ex of The Libertines and Dirty Pretty Things) assists. There are tender moments – "Venusia" opens on galloping drums reminiscent of those on Kate Bush's "Running Up That Hill" and "Echoes" is a real epic – but otherwise the impression is of Barbarella-esque sci-fi-themed lyrics and boisterous fun. The band freeze dramatically as one during "Magick", but the ecstatic crowd's sustained "woah" causes Reynolds to crack up laughing and Righton to accuse them gleefully of "absolute mayhem."
So yes, Klaxons definitely do still have it. But on this evidence, perhaps they don't have the versatility to keep their audience's attention when that energy fades. Enjoy it while it lasts, Klaxons fans, and don't think too much about the future.