James Smith, lead vocalist of Hadouken!, the British new rave grindie band, stalked confidently on to the brightly lit and smoke-shrouded stage of Koko in Camden Town. Beer can in hand and head held high, followed by his four loyal band members looking equally as confident, he was ready to take on the challenge of winning over what can only be described as a bunch ofhyperactive and eccentric fans, bedecked with neon glow sticks and luminous attire.
Standing in the pit of the crowd, I was aware of anextraordinary sense of excitement and sheer fun, mingled with a strong awareness that this rowdy bunch of exhilarated teenagers could break into riot at any time while caught up in a dizzy daze of Hadouken!'s stimulating, and perhaps controversial, dance music.
As a stifled bass murmur resonated heavily through the crowd and pumped through the speakers straight into the floor, Smith's strong London accent and cocky tone got the crowd prepared for the burst of new-rave culture that was about to hit them at warp speed. As far as the crowd was concerned, Hadouken! had already delivered.
The band's music appeals to non-conformist, new-age teenagers, as the lyrics unashamedly and overtly praise the effects of drugs, sex andalcohol. As much as modern drug culture and the concept of heroin chic may appeal to the current generation of NME readers, some of the band's references to class-A drugs seemed a littledistasteful, especially as theyacknowledged the fact that every fan there would be attending school the next day.
Old classics like "That Boy That Girl" and "Tuning In", which gave Hadouken! their big break, inevitably went down as crowd favourites. However, some of the more obscure and lesser-known tracks from their soon-to-be-released new album didn't sound quite as sharp, nor as well rehearsed.
"That Boy That Girl" claims people who wear skinny jeans and dress in pink, along with everyone else who conforms to the trend of the time, to be social defects. The lyrics of the song carry on to mock further these "Hoxton heroes". Ironic, as when I entered Koko, I was greeted by a mass of people sporting the very same "Lego haircuts and polka-dot dresses".
Victoria Edwards, student, Loughton, Essex
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