Modestep at KOKO
London-based live dubstep and rock band, Modestep played at KOKO in Camden for the first time, to a sold out audience of fans. They were there promoting their debut album Evolution Theory, released on 11th February.
The band includes brothers, Tony and Josh Friend who, prior to Modestep, had been DJing separately since 2001. In 2010 they joined forces and brought in a drummer, Matthew Curtis, and more recently a guitarist, Nick Tsang to introduce rock elements to their sound.
Taking two genres and mashing them together, this group uses a bit from each side and a lot of liberties. Starting with the relatively new and upcoming sound of dubstep and combining it with a shredding-style guitar sound is an interesting concept that should work in principle. The looped computerised beat and the live remixing are done quite well. The drumming is thunderous and an acceptable backing to the sound, if not entirely necessary (the computerised sounds already seem to incorporate drums, and at least twice in the gig the drummer was drumming with no sound being amplified). Next there is the guitar, which is shoe-horned in as a side note. Sometimes a guitar solo is needed, but not in a dubstep song. It makes no sense for a guitarist to be on stage, and it doesn’t add anything. It only takes away from the credibility of this group as a dubstep performance band.
A half-cocked effort to make a rock-dubstep band turns out to be increasingly poppy: meaningless, simplified songs, over use of CO2 cannons and a propensity to jump around the stage, singing like a lonely member of a boy-band. In redeeming moments the singer, Josh Friend’s voice suits the performance well – both sides of it. As a rock singer he could make soft-metal and be good at it. MC-ing over dubstep, he can control the crowd and raise the intensity of the dancing to fever pitch until the inevitable CO2 cannon and the “Wub Wub Wub”.
The band seems to have garnered a lot of media attention on the back of their new take on the sub-genre. Nevertheless, is this less hardcore, more mainstream sound what dubstep needs? And is it what the future of rock music sounds like? Only time will tell.
For further information about Modestep and future events visit here.
Watch the video for Sunshine here: