THE KLAXONS at Lee's Palace (529 Bloor West), Sunday (April 8), 10:15 pm. $15. 19+. 416-870-8000. Rating: NNNNN
Glow stick alert! just when you thought the fluorescent symbol of rave culture commerce gone awry had been eradicated from the club scene everywhere but Ibiza, East London new rave crew the Klaxons have brought back the annoying accessory with a vengeance.
It wasn't that bass-beating frontman Jamie Reynolds and his 20-something bandmates Simon Taylor and James Righton were feeling nostalgic for the MDMA-fuelled hedonism of the early 90s, since they all would've been preteens at the time. The whole thing started as a lark that evidently went horribly wrong.
"In the UK, the glow stick thing where people come to our shows waving them is really bizarre," says Reynolds, relaxing at home before taking on North America. "We just got back from a European tour playing to the same-size crowds as we do in England, and there were no glow sticks to be seen.... We enjoyed that.
"It all began when we were about to play our first gig back in November 2005 and we invited 30 of our friends to come down and asked them to bring glow sticks because we thought it would be funny. As it happened, there were a number of media taste-makers and London types at those early gigs, and they all latched onto the glow stick thing. When images of our shows started circulating, the glow sticks caught on. Now this bizarre thing has snowballed out of control."
Somewhat similarly, the Klaxons' everything-louder-than-everything-else attack that accompanies the gleefully shouted Happy Mondays-style free word associations heard on their high-energy debut album, Myths Of The Near Future (DGC/Universal) - released in Canada last week after zooming in at number two on the UK chart at the end of January - also came together without any grand plan. According to Reynolds, they were simply trying to compensate for the shortcomings of the instruments at hand during an early demo session.
"We didn't have any equipment that wasn't broken. All of our instruments seemed like they were about to break at any moment, and they sounded really nasty. So we focused on that and used it on everything we did.
"I mean, the keyboard we used was this standard school-issue Yamaha model that happened to be lying about. We had an idea for a song, so we pressed a couple of buttons on it and the sound we got seemed to go well with the tune. We just stuck with that."
What's even more surreal to the Klaxons than their sudden rise to fame in the UK is their newfound status as fashion icons. This is due in part to the neon sci-fi outfits created by their former stylist, Carri Munden, and to the fact that Klaxons fans like coming to shows dressed up in zany outfits of their own design.
"It's funny to think that we could ever be thought to have any sort of fashion sense whatsoever. We all find it baffling and amazing that clothing companies are now asking us to wear their stuff and design things for their labels. We're musicians. The whole fashion business has nothing to do with us. How we ever got lumped in with that I'll never know."