Review: Maps

7 out of 10: Leeds, Friday, 5.15pm. Extended to become a five-piece, this keyboard-driven band has more kick than the record. Perfect for that early-festival existential crisis.

Stage: Carling, Leeds

Time and date: Friday, 5.15pm

Dress code: Particularly nondescript T-shirts, although the one reading "Pong" is at least likeable.

In summary: Maps are usually Northampton bedroom-based James Chapman, but he's extended himself to become a five-piece live band. This gives his keyboard-driven blend of Aphex Twin, Spiritualized, Wire and Flaming Lips a bit more kick than on record, but he's still aiming at a psychedelic experience rather than a moshpit, with songs to gently bliss out to in the evening sun. A bonus is the introspective subject matter, perfect for that early-festival existential crisis.

Highlight: Their entrance, all dry ice and major chords. But you can't go far wrong with hazy, hypnotic, whispered-sung tunes like Liquid Sugar and So High, So Low. Especially if you're in an altered state.

Better than: The shouty emo rock types bellowing across from the main stage.

Worse than: Spiritualized, who have flugelhorns, and Flaming Lips, who have gigantic bubbles, groups of gnomes and Santa suits. But give them time.

Talking point: That if they had the stage presence and budget to match the music they'd be huge. The sounds aren't done justice by anonymous blokes in jeans, but we think that after a couple of US tours they'll be riding on on Harley Davidsons under a Pink Floyd light show.

Mark out of ten: 7

What they'll be up to this time next year: Same place, full tent, with gnomes.


Dave Simpson

The GuardianTramp

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