Bis / We Are the Physics @ Mono, 19 July
When not recording solo or infrequently gigging with Bis, Manda Rin likes to paint. Tonight’s show launches her Cover Versions and Other Hits exhibition, which takes 15 of her favourite albums and reworks their sleeves in her distinctive Manga-esque style. Sleater Kinney, X-Ray Spex… we spend the time between bands trying to decide which will fit best in our living room, opting for a Le Tigre print but coveting several others.
We Are the Physics initiate the evening’s musical attractions in typically manic fashion: a flurry of synced poses, cheeky patter and noisy Devo-influenced art-pop. It transpires they’ve recently filmed a scene for Stuart Murdoch’s God Help the Girl flick, and so invite their handsome French co-star Pierre to perform the song in question, before noisily letting loose with their own material again for the final stretch.
It’s fun, but not half as much fun as watching Bis revive their finest hyper-pop moments: from sugar-rush breakthrough Kandy Pop to the shiny surfaces of Eurodisco, they’re significantly better than our niggling cynicism led us to expect. Singing of School Discos and Sweet Shops with sky-high energy seemed like it should be a kid’s game, yet here they are, sounding as fresh as ever (though “the gaps in between are longer than they used to be”, notes John Disco with a smile). What’s more, a new song suggests they’ve plenty to offer yet. Stick around this time guys, you’ve been missed.