Ladytron / Simian Phoenix, Toronto ON - February 24, 2003

Sporting sleek matching grey uniforms and an unmistakable air of cool, Liverpudlian electro-pop quartet Ladytron appeared before an eager sold-out crowd at their Toronto debut. Augmented by a touring rhythm section, the extended ensemble fittingly began their set with "True Mathematics," a song whose title sums up the group's calculated approach to live performances. While Daniel Hunt and Reuben Wu conjured analog warmth from their respective machines, resident droid waifs Mira Aroyo and Helena Marnie delivered sultry monotones for crowd pleasers "Playgirl," "He Took Her To A Movie" and "Seventeen." Overall, Ladytron stayed in ultra-cool character, despite the occasional tease that the deadpan performers would suddenly erupt into life, especially during the emotionally intense "Evil" and the epic instrumental thrust of "Turn It On." Most intriguing, however, was Ladytron's interpretation of the Trans-X classic "Living On Video," only to be outdone by a final energetic romp through Tweet's "Oops (Oh My)." Earlier in the evening, British quartet Simian primed the audience with an assortment of eccentric electronic pop songs from their recently released sophomore album, We Are Your Friends. Quirky yet catchy tunes like "La Breeze," "Sunshine" and "End of the Day" meshed surprisingly well with older material from their swirling psychedelic debut, Chemistry Is What We Are. Several times throughout their set band members temporarily abandoned their posts to add supplementary percussion to the mix. Simian's performance undoubtedly achieved its zenith when all four members converged on a groove-based jam, kicking out the rhythms with obvious infectious joy.