Theme Park: White Heat, Madame JoJo’s, 11/01/12

Wandering down a side street that led to Madame Jojo’s amidst screaming neon lights advertising “Girls, Girls, Girls!” and variations thereof; a friend and I were intercepted by a man handing out flyers who roughly told us that “The gay bars are over there lads”. It was a disconcerting start to the evening but perhaps it is a testament to Theme Park that they managed to make me forget the encounter over the course of a sparkling headline set.

The North London band continue to grow as an outfit and held a formerly disinterested audience to rapt attention from the moment they took the stage. The clean, joyous vibrancy exhibited over the course of their set is sure to win them fans, and their songs getting consistent radio play as well as featuring on E4 adverts isn’t going to do any harm either.

The fact that they opened with ‘A Mountain We Love,’ a pop song of such wit and beauty it would usually be a set closer for a normal band, shows what they have in their locker. ‘Wax’ retains it’s melodic charm, although you sense that Theme Park are at their most comfortable when the tempo is raised. LCD Soundsystem homage ‘Two Hours’ is a perfect example of this, as Miles Haughton asks repeatedly “Can you feel anything?” aping James Murphy in all the best ways.

Single ‘Milk’ may be more radio friendly and less interesting but it still goes down a storm live, whilst “Jamaica” is the stand out track of the evening, a crystal clear of evocation of young love that ends with Haughton’s falsetto cries ringing over the instrumentation. It’s a moment of clarity in a chaotic, colourful set and a pointer to the longevity of this band – if they can create moments like this, both on record and live, they could be around for some time to come.

Jake Farrell