It’s really quite impressive that a band as experimental, diverse and offbeat can not only play Brighton’s Patterns on a Saturday night, but also pack it to the rafters. Such is testament to the band’s uniqueness for rhythm, and dynamic use of the musical art form that it seems to lock itself into people’s heads. At times during the night, AK/DK’s beautiful swirls of noise seemed to be controlling people into a time-warped trance. There’s a hypnosis to AK/DK that is so captivating it could put a spell on the most easily distracted group of people, like a group of toddlers or a group of lads on a night out.
Support on the night came from fellow locals, Fruity Water. With their album, Thirst Takes, out at the end of the month, it gave them the perfect opportunity to showcase exactly what they’re about – and boy did they do that. The duo are drenched in the immersing, memorable pop of the 80s but, importantly, they bring it into the 21st century impressively. New single ‘Rules’ is a melodic, chilled-out pop number that has as much in common with the likes of Tame Impala as it does Tears for Fears. It’s truly an earworm, and an incredibly impressive one at that.
Then for the main event, the biggest AK/DK gig yet. There’s an ecstatic feeling when watching an AK/DK live performance, for multiple reasons. Firstly, they’re fantastic musicians and it’s a genuine honour to watch them perform for the same reasons people celebrate paintings and sculptures: it’s pure, unadulterated art. Secondly, though, they’ve got a whole host of dynamic, soaring electronic pop songs that were born to be played live. An early showing of ‘Maxwell’s Waves’ exhibits this sublimely. With its powerful, riveting use of repetitive synths blended with a hook-laden backbone of enticing drum patterns, it sounds like the offspring of the synth-pop of Bronski Beat amalgamated with the disco-punk of LCD Soundsystem. Likewise, encore song ‘Morphology’ is a ferocious beast, that twists and turns in multiple ways, genres and ideas before its crashing finale which is reminiscent of an inventive piece of the exciting electronic new wave.
The most joyous aspect of AK/DK’s live performance, and indeed the band themselves, though, is that they’re perennial throwbacks to an era that rarely gets touched upon any more. There’s no wonder as to why the majority of the Patterns crowd is at least in their 40s. With a hint of acid house, and a whole load of krautrock (think Kraftwerk and CAN as the main touchstones), they’re a band that wholesomely wear their hearts on their sleeves, but they’ve got enough technical nous to pull it off triumphantly.
There’s been a lot to shout about within the Brighton music scene as of late, with multiple bands playing impressive headline shows, as well as a great amount moving up to nationwide status. However, none of them are like AK/DK and that is something that will forever be in their favour, as there aren’t many bands as different, diverse and unique as the boundary-pushing duo. Their show at Patterns more than solidified them as one of our finest bands, and once again signified that they’re certainly ready to take the whole country by storm.