Go-Kart Mozart, The Exchange - Bristol, 12th of September 2014

Go-Kart Mozart, The Exchange – Bristol, 12th of September 2014

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Lawrence has been steadily making albums as Go Kart Mozart since 1999. Quirky synths and lurid lyrics collide amidst maverick pop that is somehow still yet to eclipse Felt, his staid indie band of the 80s. The recent documentary Lawrence of Belgravia gave us a man at once endlessly tiring to be an adored mega star yet reclusively dwelling in a council flat. He warrants the mass acclaim he yearns, but both music and man may well be too odd to fit. To whit: the last Go Kart Mozart tour was mostly cancelled, reportedly due to lack of interest.

It’s a privilege, then, to be in Bristol to catch this rare live event. Bristol’s compact Exchange venue is hosting Fanzine festival, a celebration of indie pop like The Brilliant Corners (from the legendary Sarah Records stable) who are our curators for the weekend. Amelia Fletcher will also make an appearance with her new band. For now, a flash of satin jacket signifies the unmistakeable trademark of a Go Kart Mozart member, about to take stage. Lawrence is unassuming and hesitant in his arrival, but is no less a heartening sight.

The band belt out more than a dozen excellently curated tunes from across all three of their albums. West Brom Blues from last year’s On the Hot Dog Streets pines for winning goals and girls alike, but the anthemic Lawrence Takes Over picks us up before Come on You Lot rallies the crowd. Then it’s a stream of sprightly, electro‒ beat, pop gems. Despite carrying the staple Lawrence theme of heartbreak, The Sun is as brilliantly shimmering and tuneful as a 90s europop hit.

Where Felt provided poker‒ faced, reflective indie, Go Kart Mozart are instant, delicious pop, all neon‒ lit, brash and hedonistic. Who else but Lawrence could write the perfect antidote to the notion of ‘benefits cheats’, call it Selfish and Lazy and Greedy, and fill it with unironic, proud sentiments about staying in bed? An anthem for these austere times, it’s a celebratory two finger salute to David Cameron’s workfare schemes.

Electric Rock and Roll is another sensational call to the dancefloor. Go Kart Mozart are the musical equivalent of a glitter cannon in moments like these and the injustice of their relative obscurity is reinforced.

Almighty effort on synth and extremely energetic backing vocals make Terry Miles an essential part of festivities. Unapologetic bottletop glasses and moptop hair give him the 70s look that fits in perfectly with the band’s uncompromisingly unmodern sound.

Hecklers asking for old Denim songs are dismissed by the singer curtly: ‘I can’t understand your growling.’ He has no time for sidetracking, it’s straight on with the music. Denim were another cracking band of Lawrence’s, post−Felt but which he understandably won’t perform. Go Kart Mozart are the best of all as far as Lawrence is concerned, and he’s damned right, too. He’s a rare artist inasmuch as his genuinely best work is his most current, because he’s that creative.

Donna and the Dope Fiends is a rollicking, joyful pop song that just happens to be about scoring drugs. Being aware of Lawrence’s own battles with the stuff, abandonless dancing seems awkward, even guilty, but despite the grim topic, the song is just too joyous to ignore any form of dancing. The song is repeated at the end, and either poignancy resonates, or it’s opportunity to forget, rejoice and reel.

No more than forty people exploit the chance to be at this exclusive gig.

There’s a lingering feeling that music’s last original may forever be romanticised for his first band Felt’s gentle, sensitive indie. But that’s in the past ‒ the zesty, audacious pop he’s making with Go Kart Mozart is here and now, and awaiting voracious, righteous fanaticism.

God is in the TV is an online music and culture fanzine founded in Cardiff by the editor Bill Cummings in 2003. GIITTV Bill has developed the site with the aid of a team of sub-editors and writers from across Britain, covering a wide range of music from unsigned and independent artists to major releases.