The Like – Live Review

03/09/2010

By Laura Hughes

What a difference five years makes. Rewind to 2005 and The Like were a very different outfit.

Looking like they had wafted in from the set of The Virgin Suicides, the Cali-London three-piece swooned their way through ‘Are You Thinking What I’m Thinking?’, a veritable pick n’ mix of candy-coated angst and bittersweet choruses.

They came, they saw, they hung out with er, Johnny Borrell before disappearing back across the Atlantic in a cloud of Biba dresses and Coco Mademoiselle.

It’s hardly surprising then, that the girls who coquettishly position themselves behind their respective instruments do so with all the wide-eyed excitement of a band who have undergone the most drastic makeovers since the last series of ‘Snog, Marry, Avoid’.

“We’re missing a keyboard player!” shrieks singer/guitarist Elizabeth ‘Z’ Berg, her wavy, honey-coloured hair now chopped into a Sedgwick-style bleached crop. Berg, along with chirpy British drummer Tennessee Thomas are The Like’s formidable backbone, having recruited new bass player Laena Geronimo and the currently-AWOL organist Annie Monroe since their last UK outing.

Their long-awaited sophomore album, ‘Release Me’ was produced largely by Mark Ronson and recorded at the New York studio of legendary funk musicians Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings.

Now all mini-skirts and false lashes, the band are 60’s, Shangri-La inspired poster-girls for designer Zac Posen’s new collection and their model-perfect proportions certainly haven’t gone unnoticed with tonight’s mostly-male crowd.

Monroe eventually totters towards the stage from behind the DJ booth and without a word, the foursome launch into ‘Catch Me If You Can’, a Farfisa organ-tinged playground chant about a bitter break-up.

Much has been made of Ronson’s involvement in the bands’ reinvented image, having transformed Winehouse into a beehive-toting, winged-eyelinered jazz kitten during the making of ‘Back to Black’. Each song is a punchy, upbeat handclap-fest, Berg’s voice barely recognisable from the husky seductress of old as she yelps about loving boys, hating boys and loving boys some more.

The albums’ title track is a sweet, harmony filled affair that benefits from strong backing vocals, and recent single ‘He’s Not a Boy’ kicks in like a Hard Days Night-era Beatles track, all jaunty melodies and fuzzy guitars.
View All Photos | The Like

After a recent cameo in ‘Scott Pilgrim Vs the World’ as a member of the title characters’ nemesis ex-girlfriends’ band, drummer Thomas is a powerhouse, dispelling any doubts about style over ability with unfaltering kick-drum pounds.

It would be insulting to dismiss the four-piece as Go-Go-esque, girl-band imitators, if only because their new sound suits them so very well. The girls are a snappily-dressed, talented vessel for Berg’s charming, witty lyrics and their new material sounds even better with a raw, live edge than on record. Be it Ronson puppet-mastery or just plain growing up, The Like have never sounded better.

One response

6 09 2010
Robert Smith

Was there, absolutely amazing gig, cannot wait to see them again

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