A mixed bag is not a bad thing
Posted: February 20, 2013
Fans of the British electro dubstep act Modestep have had to wait quite a while since the group's forming back in 2010 until its premiere show in the Czech Republic Wednesday, Feb. 27. As a bonus, then, the band is bringing along a brand new album, also its first, Evolution Theory, released Feb. 11.
Granted, this is Modestep's first album, so there is no previous generation to compare it with or on which to establish a theory, but one guesses the group's leaders, the brothers Tony and Josh Friend (respectively: DJ and singer-producer), may personally have evolved a bit while working for two years to put the record out. They also DJed for a decade before forming Modestep with their friends Matthew Curtis on drums and Nick Tsang playing guitar - or should we say Curtis and Tsang formed Modestep with their Friends?
The long-awaited debut album got a middling review in The Guardian, but three stars out of five, so a net positive: "If Pendulum rule the teen-rave market, Modestep seem destined to reel in their little brothers and sisters," Caroline Sullivan wrote. "While the London brostep quartet probably envisage their debut album reaching an older, socially conscious crowd - witness 'Praying for Silence,' which contains an excerpt from a news report on the London riots - the music's smash-'em-up dopeyness will speak loudest to 12-year-olds. The sleeve even has a cartoonish drawing of a giant robot trundling down a city street: an apt visual representation of the brain-compressing beats and screeching synths inside."
That said, Modestep seems to bring the show right live, regularly selling out venues such as Koko in Camden for the group's very first gig there. Modestep earned a full star more for that live show: "Pigeon-holed as dubstep, Modestep turned Koko into a giant mass mosh, as ideas fell over each other and songs (37 of them in 100 minutes) cascaded into songs," John Aizlewood wrote in the London Evening Standard. "Evolving the Pendulum template of marrying stadium rock with hardcore dance and underpinning it with a sense of community, the exceedingly sweary London quartet overflowed with vim, snot, bad dress sense and irreverence. Floorquaking riffs tussled with stentorian keyboards, while jets of steam kissed Koko's roof."
When: Wednesday, Feb. 27, at 8
Tickets: 440 Kč
One can also imagine such a scene at Roxy this coming Wednesday as locals - especially the 12-year-olds who love the record, but also the grown-ups up for a good live show - get their first glimpse of Modestep on stage. This is a big year for the group, what with that first record, a forthcoming U.S. tour and even a spot on stage at the Coachella Festival in southern California just outside of Palm Desert; there probably won't be another chance to catch Modestep on the rise like this.
Milan Gagnon can be reached at