Review ScrollerI’ve moaned about attendances at great gigs in the past, but this week at The Academy was a bit of an eye-opener. A headline band that hasn’t been in the UK for seven years playing on a wet Tuesday night in Islington: I wasn’t expecting a great crowd. Arriving about halfway through the first support band’s set after rain delays, I was gobsmacked; the place was almost full and the atmosphere was incredible. Even during the first support set, there was a sense of something special about to unfold in N1.

The two support bands, Lisbon and Secret Company, played energetic sets packed with inventive arrangements and melodies, building up the atmosphere for the headliners and gaining a few new fans as a bonus. Kakkmaddafakka seemed to be playing to a home crowd; it looked (and sounded) like every Norwegian from the Home Counties had come out to have some fun.

So, pretty much a full house and all revved up and ready to go. The simmering atmosphere was pushed a few more notches towards boiling with a fanfare as the stage lights died down and then the venue erupted as the six band members bounced onstage one by one, and built the first song from the bottom up. With a six-member line-up, the sound was absolutely enormous and the house sound system dealt with it perfectly.

The energy generated on stage was incredible and the audience fed on it throughout the set as the band jumped effortlessly from one genre to another; the three front men were constantly in motion, like spinning tops, all taking lead vocals at some point in the set. We also got a lot of shouts of ’Maddafakka’ (from the band and the audience). The recorded material may seem a bit fey indie at times (maybe a bit Kings of Convenience), but live they’re a very different animal, thunderous bass and drums and pounding keyboards transforming them into a live monster. Despite all of the onstage lunacy, the band didn’t miss a beat as they powered through indie, house and even reggae – “Gangsta”, complete with a stolen Bob Marley intro. By the end of the set and the cheesy house cover, they had the audience eating out of their hands. Their magic brew of great tunes, enormous beats and onstage mayhem would warm the coldest heart (or dry out the wettest Londoner).

Don’t leave it seven years next time guys.