– THE DEAF INSTITUTE, MANCHESTER –

To celebrate the seventh instalment of the much acclaimed Kitsune Maison compilation series, this ultra cool label have taken on a month long tour to spread the word. Starting and Paris and ending in Hamburg, it shall cover the U.K, Europe and even as far afield as Japan.

Ever since the inception of Kitsune back in 2002, the French musical masterminds behind the label have managed to keep finding the newest names from around the globe. Bloc Party, Digitalism, Hot Chip, La Roux, Little Boots and Manchester’s very own The Whip and Delphic, are all part of the electro indie-pop family.

Many of the acts from this latest release will be appearing at the different venues as it travels around the globe and tonight sees three of the nineteen in attendance.

The first of tonight’s live acts are CHEW LiPS, a south London trio made up of multi instrumentalists Will Sanderson and James Watkins, with singer Tigs at the forefront.

As the two boys are in position and get their first track Salt Air underway, there are a few bars played before Tigs cockily strides onstage looking like something from a 60s sci-fi movie in her silver top and short blonde hair. When she finally enters into the first verse, her amazingly distinctive voice is barely noticeable above the sound of the music.

By this time, all the people that were hanging around in the main bar, have now made their way upstairs to the music hall to take in this electronic pop that is on offer.

With Will and James almost static, apart from heads bobbing along to sounds they are delivering, this leaves Tigs as the main centre of attention as she prances around almost horse like whilst looking over us with her wild staring eyes. At times you would be forgiven for getting a cold chill down your spine if she was to catch you looking at her.

During Gold Key, she takes a leap onto the bar and dances her way from one end to the other, much to the delight of all in attendance. Once back in her rightful position upon the high stage, she has a short, but rightly deserved rant at the slightly static crowd, by asking “are you still alive Manchester?”

Dancing feet are suddenly set in motion as the intro to their single Solo rings from the sound system. This may not be due to being scared witless by her words of criticism, but simply because it is a fantastic song. All the movement off stage was all a little late in the day as this is to be the end of their all too short set.

To fill the gap whilst the changeover is happening, producer, master of the remix and music maker in his own right BENI, is to spin his selection of vinyl to keep our appetites wetted. Being part of the Bang Gang DJ crew, he certainly knows his craft well and proves his worth with the choices delivered.

The stage is now set with two tables side by side with laptops and gadgetry securely in place. Many yards of gaffer tape have been applied to the numerous trailing wires from all the equipment to be used by tonight’s headliners.

Russell Crank is one half of the London duo autoKratz and is also the only figure on show as the music starts begins. It’s a good few moments before the shaven head David Cox ambles into view clutching a couple of beers and explains his delayed arrival is due to him being a bit busy.

Once he has taken up his position, they launch into Always More, which is the opening track of their debut album Animal. Immediately the atmosphere switches from a midweek gig, to a Saturday night at a top dance club.

Whilst their recorded music seems to have a healthy dose of electro-indie in the ilk of bands like New Order with added BPMs, they take this to a whole new level when playing live. Next up is The Idiots Are Winning, with its vocoder style vocals and fast paced disco beats, you could easily be listening to a new track by Daft Punk.

The energy that David gives off is contagious, whilst away from his microphone or laptop, he is bounding around to the massive techno sounds that you would find common place in the better clubs of Amsterdam or Berlin.

Other blistering album tracks such as Stay The Same and Can’t Get Enough are also given the extended treatment. All through the set Russ’ concentration is apparent from the constant frown on his face as he peers at the screen of his laptop. The only break from this is when he reaches round to give his knobs a good twiddling and at the same time wiping the sweat from his brow.

By the time they leave the stage, the temperature in the room has risen drastically due to the audience being taken into an almost frenzied state. I’m sure it won’t be long before autoKratz are thrilling crowds at many of the bigger club night around the world.

Simon Zaccagni

‘Accidental Editor’ None of this was planned; I’ve never been in a band, never been part of the ‘music scene’ and never expected to be the gaffer of a music website with loads of dedicated music loving writers. I bought my first record when I was 8 and haven’t stopped buying since. I love crate digging for bizarre and weird stuff, but equally happy ploughing through press releases looking/listening for something I’ve never heard before.