Monday, 25 February 2008

LIVE: Lightspeed Champion

Sunday 17th Feb 2008
Roadhouse, Manchester

A buzz surrounds Dev Heynes at the moment and with his lyrically sublime songs and self-deprecating nature it isn’t hard to see why so many find him endearing. Armed with a talented band and his guitar Dev is in his stride from the off, bantering with the audience about everything from Year Zero (“This didn’t go down well last night but I’m going to explain the theory anyway”) to I, Robot (“It’s just a shit film”). It’s like half stand up, half gig; the audience gazing adoringly and laughing along to each of the flippant comments made.
A good majority of the audience bob their heads along to album tracks like “Tricks for a Bitch” but it’s songs like “Midnight Surprise” and “Tell Me What It’s Worth” which combine notoriety with talent and have everyone smiling. Something which is different this time Lightspeed play live is a lack of cover songs; Eugene McGuiness and The Strokes have been replaced by their own material and the audience even get treated to new stuff (about hookers, obviously). Heynes voice is suited perfectly to the folk-esque guitars and soaring violins and it’s songs like “No Surprise” which truly showcase the extent of talent. Drums and violins submerge into guitar and vocals and this coupled with Dev clambering onto the speakers and bearing down over the heads of the audience give the feeling of a band in their element.
One of the things setting this band out from the mainstream is the lyrics. Stories which could be portrayed as mundane come to life wittily and humbly. “Everyone I Know is Listening to Crunk” has the audience swaying in time and a few smirks pull at the corners of mouths once the lyrics sink in (“Take me to the Genesis to see Saw III” / “And the stranger on the night bus in the checked coat is not you”).
Highlight of the entire night though comes in the form of the band covering “Thriller”. The hype them should be believed, Lightspeed Champion have talent, a humble and endearing attitude and can make you laugh too- what more do you need?
Jade x

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