Fixers @ O2 Academy Oxford – 17/05/12

The band everyone has been waiting on for months and months now. The hype has been building nationally and despite the recent set backs involving their tour and album release, Fixers are at the top of their game and tonight they blow the roof of the place.  “We are Fixers and we are from Oxford!”Dispite tonight being a hometown show with all local support, the crowd don’t really arrive until the headliners hit the stage, and this is a shame as the miss out on the interesting and very different supports.

The night opens with Beta Blocker & The Body Clock; fuzzy surf-influence garage rock burst forth from surprisingly a duo. The guitar work and song writing is amazing, and the vocals suitably inaudible but the bass is played by the drummer on a drum pas and the hole sound is a little thin. The music is great but if it was coming from a 5-piece like the modern form of The Horrors, a band which their sound owes a great debt then I think we could have a seriously great band on our hands but as is it feels a bit stunted.

In stark contrast to them, next up is Blessing Force contributor, the silver-tongued Pet Moon. Now with added female backing vocals, Andrew Mears continues to brilliantly straddling R&B/Pop and Warp Records-esque electronica. Heavy bass hits, glitches and smooth synths and guitar blend into a trance-inducing mellow and melancholic wave. When all three vocalists sing together the true sound of the ‘band’ comes alive and the genre-crossing power it there to see for all. The sound can be a bit hollow, but the bass and high end are covered by the synths and guitars respectively, leaving Mears’ vocal to fill the gap; when he does it is marvelous though it can be a little washed out, at times.

Then, they arrive. A pulsing bass hit and that war cry is the beginning of an immense set filled with tropical-sci-fi guitars, the least conventional drums for a (nominally) guitar band and beautiful five-part harmonies.  The boys all seem so genuinely chuffed that we’re all there to see them, the crowd is pleased to get one last hometown glance a band that is sure to head skyward at any moment. The whole set is a cohesive mix of pink-rave and straight up dance music. There’s elements of Animal Collective, Jonquil and M83, the latter of which very much so in new track ‘Alexander’.

The laser and light show and enthusiasm are great additions to the vibe and excitement in the room, but if you peeled that all back you would still have band who are tighter than most and more creative than almost any.  Songs don’t need to be 4 minutes long, or have a sane structure to them; if they sound good and make you feel something then that’s all there needs to be and Fixers have a collection of songs so distinct and entrancing that all you can do is smile and dance!

Photography by Dave Watson