ACTORS, Empathy Test, DicePeople, My Hysteria – New Blood UK Tour 2019 @ O2 Islington Academy

29th June 2019
Review by Victoria Fenbane
Photography by Jo Blackened

On the hottest day of the year in London so far, it was very welcome to be able to enjoy the air-conditioned darkness of upstairs at Islington’s O2 Academy.

Kicking off the music shortly after doors were My Hysteria; a band formed across the road at the legendary Slimelight club night.

Their dark synthpop tunes are composed by keyboardist Martin and vocalist Alessio. My Hysteria have a sound strongly reminiscent of the catchy 80’s synthpop chart hits from the likes of Yazoo.

For this performance, they were let down by the sound mixing, which resulted in Alessio’s vocals being too low in the mix to hear the lyrics over the music, but the dance-able nature still shone through.

The number of songs in their set was cut short due to technical issues, even from what I did hear, they have improved since I last saw them at their debut gig supporting Covenant at the same venue.

They’re definitely an act to watch and dance to live.

Next up were another local band, Dicepeople, a dark electro outfit who are currently a duo.

There is a reduced line-up from last years performance, but Zmora and Matt’s live show has always had a significant visual emphasis, and they have recently switched this up so their projections and lighting create an even more immersive experience.

The whole performance was brooding, intense, captivating and most definitely entertaining.

Their performance was against a soundscape of dark yet catchy electro tunes, including ‘Multiplicity’ from last years ‘One From Many’ album, and the vibrant and distinctive 2017 release ‘Synthetic’.

As well as a magnetising live show, they have made some stunning live videos on YouTube Their show was well received by the crowd, within which were new Dicepeople fans, and as a whole were now nicely warmed up for the double headliner.

It was ACTORS to close the show on this UK ‘New Blood’ tour, so Empathy Test were next up.

They were the third local band on the line-up, but are often kept out of town due to a relentless touring schedule.

But they still manage to play London every few months…

In the 4 years since I first saw them at the S.O.S #2 festival at Electrowerkz, they have developed a very strong and loyal fan base, both at home and in Germany, thanks to their exquisitely crafted songs bursting with emotion.

They create goosebump inducing post-punk synthpop, the result of which is entrancing live shows. It is this live experience which brings the fans back time and again; the collective euphoria of the experience of shared emotional memories, a melancholy best aided by a few pints, so you feel inhibited to sing along to songs such as ‘Bare My Soul’.

‘I want to bare my soul –
In a way that no one can.
In the hope that some of you might understand
How it feels
To be so alone.’

Now we’re feeling sufficiently pensive to be ready for Canadians ACTORS to close the show.

A modern post-punk outfit, who while being the least electronic sounding of the line-up, still maintain a strong synth sound, albeit a spikier one.

ACTORS have a style which is strongly influenced by the post-punk greats of the 80’s while taking the genre’s sound in a similar 21st Century direction as The Soft Moon and Cold Cave, with a strong Bowie influence subtly interleaved throughout.

The standout songs for me were ‘We Don’t Have To Dance’, and ‘Slaves’. The set was plagued by a few sound issues, but these did not distract from a great show, which was enjoyed by all, even myself who prefers music of a more upbeat style.

Yes, ACTORS are brooding and gothic, but they do get the feet moving.

A great end to a great night!

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