“So, erm, this is a song about death!” mumbled Richard Frenneaux, lead singer of Red Light Company when introducing “With lights Out” last night at London’s Camden Barfly. Let’s be honest – as you may be able to tell from that little quote, they’re not a light hearted, fun band like the Hoosiers or We Are Scientists. However, what they lack in fun they more than make up for in depth and darkness, as they showed the packed Barfly.
Earlier in the evening A Silent Film had brought a hint of Keane and awful Dad dancing to the stage for the first support slot. Movie-esque music, layered and gorgeous, but ultimately nothing that Keane, Coldplay and Longview haven’t tried before. However, the one thing that Keane and others haven’t tried was their interesting cover of Underworld’s Born Slippy, which suddenly had a dreamy feel to it... interesting, thought it’d take a few more listens to get us really convinced that they can pull it off.
They were followed by the awful Holy Ghost Revival who seemed to just want to cause trouble with their “seen-it-all-before” 70’s rock rip-offs. Halfway through their set a waterfight broke out between crowd and band, leaving their keyboard temporarily broken and a 5 minute interlude, before they unfortunately resumed their noise. The only good thing was the fact that lead singer Mikko Freeman responded to hecklers: “Yes, we’re gay stoner cowboys! Finally, London gets us!” he remarked. Yes, and we wish you’d just go with the other cowboys.
At this point, our faith in the London music scene was diminishing rapidly, and an early night was on the cards. However, when Red Light Company finally took to the stage at 10pm, we were immediately enthralled. To describe their music as a mixture of Black-Market Music era Placebo, Interpol and Hot Fuss era Killers would be doing them an injustice – they’re more than the sum of their parts, darker and catchier than many bands out there.
Frenneaux appeared distant throughout the set not really interacting at all, seemingly pre-occupied with other things, but managed to fill the stage with his gaunt frame. Surely he’s got to be a shoe-in for Brian Molko’s replacement for confused teenagers across the UK now that Molko has gone all disco-dance on us? Time will tell.
Previous single “Scheme Eugene” was thrown in early in the set, giving Frenneaux and bassist Shawn Day a chance to show off their vocal skills, and a chance for an early rock-out. Current single “Meccano” went down a treat mid-set, having everyone singing along and really going for it, following on from airplay with Jo Whiley and Zane Lowe on Radio 1. Closing out their set, there were no theatrics, just a simple thank you and off they trundled to their next gig.
If they work on connecting with their audience a bit more, then surely mega-fame is just around the corner for Red Light Company.