Pop: Loud, proud and better listened to in the quiet of your own home

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NME Brats London Nights: Deftones, Idlewild and Therapy?; The Crystal Method and Spiritualized London Astoria

Dust Junky's have cancelled and bets are on they arrived, took one look at the strange sproutings, hard objects and vivid streaks of colour, recognised it as their audience and asked security to escort them out. A flick through music tags and the guess is prog-punk, with Idlewild and Deftones as young pretenders who need to bone up on progression tonight as Therapy? covers two decades. Idlewild look like Brit popping art students, and give punk much needed cosmetic sugar without the trademark self-destruction. If the energy of rave music needs replacing they are in the running, taking Nirvana and Radiohead into the boxing ring without the option of a knock- out.

Therapy? are the big muscles of rock, and you wonder who they plied to get the stage to come alight as if we are in a stadium. While Idlewild's lead singer contorted and suffered, Therapy? indulge us with professional patter and machine-produced distortions, leading to conclude that Idlewild's prog-punk completes the circle back to a small dank pub in Camden.

Imagine Maxim from the Prodigy combined with Beastie Boys style maverick antics and, no surprise, the Deftones are American. To put some fetish free sex into punk is no easy task, but Deftones raw screaming and hip hop belligerence turns their onslaught of ear-bleeding noise into the David Lynch of rock.

Another night, another packed bar of music journalists for tonight's line-up of dance music spin-offs. Crystal Method are America's answer to the Chemical Brothers, a digital version of last night's abuse with spacy samples, dirty acid loops and relentless beats. It may be that this is too fast for dance, but the crowd are also packed like sardines. Melodies are short, soundscapes aren't easy to find, but the layering makes each noise pin you in different directions until arms and legs are crucified.

From a Star Wars soundtrack received by every orifice to Spiritualized's cosmic melody to bodies in orbit. They make The Verve look happy - a cacophony of harmonies with Lou Reed moroseness. The measure on both nights has been head movements, and they loll with eyes shut into the abyss where the Bahamas sea sways. Presumably fearing that the crowd will go home where Spiritualized are best heard, the set concentrates on a succession of climaxes. After two nights of loud acoustics at The Astoria, there is at least one person in the audience who would prefer to listen at home.

Jennifer Rodger

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