Klaxons, Plug, Sheffield

Plug, Sheffield

London quartet Klaxons have been touted as the kings of "new rave". Having grown up listening to their older brothers' record collections - the likes of Baby D and Guru Josh - they hit upon the idea of playing the gonzo acid-house riffs on guitars instead of synthesisers. The concept is catching on. The band have signed to major label Polydor; their audiences wave glow sticks. However, they have yet to organise secret parties in warehouses smelling of VapoRub.

They arrive on stage to the sound of sirens, and unveil a cover of Kick Like a Mule's 1992 oddity The Bouncer, based around the security man's mantra "If your name's not down, you're not coming in" repeated for ever. People blow whistles. However, as the set progresses, the atmosphere cools and you start to wonder why the London University-educated band have been dubbed "new rave" at all.

Some of their songs sound like students shouting over the new Kasabian album. The otherwise excellent Hall of Records suggests they didn't lose their brains in a field in Hampshire, but in a 1980s European club. It feels a bit like attending a secret orbital rave only to discover the DJ playing A Flock of Seagulls.

The chap next to me has a theory - "They did some photos in Day-Glo T-shirts and everyone thought 'Rave'" - which may well be accurate. Shell-suited vocalist James Righton is surely too well-fed to have danced like crazy on some psychedelic substance. His occasionally falsetto vocals are interesting, but the songs need more hooks. Their cover of Grace's 1995 big pop hit Not Over Yet parties on the dancefloor while their own tunes are at the bar. Rave with guitars is a fantastic concept but, as yet, Klaxons lack the music to really back it up.

· At Manchester Academy tonight. Box office: 0161-832 1111. Then touring.

Contributor

Dave Simpson

The GuardianTramp

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