What was it saying? Well actually not a great deal to be honest, EXCEPT for the Experimental Circle Club tent which hosted sets by the cream of the ascendant post-post-punk 'darkwave' set. While attendance at other tents and stages was generally fairly sparse, the ECC was packed for pretty much every band which graced its stage; a sea of dutifully detached faces observing the on-stage goings on beneath a lingering fug of smoke (emanating from the requisite menthol and liquorice paper cigarettes), the overriding aestetic not so much 'festival chic' as simply 'chic'.
O Children, The Violets, Neils Children and the newly streamlined Electricity in Our Homes (whose set was excecuted with sufficient confidence and aplomb to suggest the recent loss of vocalist Thomas Wamerdam might not be the disaster it initially seemed) all delivered performances of note over the weekend, but it was the aforementioned S.C.U.M who ruled supreme as the dandy ring masters of the Experimental Circle Club tent.
With a guitar-less rhythm led racket that sounds a little like early Suicide, not to mention cheekbones you could hang coats off, these monochrome teens are as beautiful as they are brilliant. In a scene which emphasises the necessity of fostering a poised demeanour of dourness and indifference S.C.U.M do the unthinkable and dare to be exciting, adventurous and naively idealistic, and are all the better for it.
Even without their much whispered connections, these young princes are undoubtedly darkwave's most likely to ‘do a Horrors’ and break the over ground; the difference being that, unlike the aforementioned goffs, they’ve got the class, charisma and tunes to back it up.
S.C.U.M are playing in Manchester at the Deaf Institute (the Oxford Rd 'Trof') on the 24th September (along with Ipso Facto). To miss out would be really, REALLY silly.
Words - Billy iDle
Image: Princess Julia, taken from the September issue of P.i.X - go pick it up!