Unicorn Kid – Nottingham Rescue Rooms, Thursday March 4.
It’s not often that the third act on the bill, on stage within twenty minutes of the doors opening, can whip a crowd up into such a seething, euphoric frenzy. But for Unicorn Kid, the alter ego of 18 year old Oli Sabin from Edinburgh, such scenes are becoming commonplace.
Unicorn Kid made his first breakthrough in the middle of last year, when he was asked to remix Did You See Me Coming for the Pet Shop Boys. Since then, he has supported Owl City across the USA, Calvin Harris in Edinburgh and Messrs Tennant and Lowe at a major arena show in Glasgow. With over 30,000 friends on MySpace and a newly signed deal with the Ministry Of Sound label, 2010 is his for the taking. His debut album is set for an autumn release, and a couple of collaborations with big name vocalists are also looking more than likely.
The Unicorn Kid house style is based around an almost ridiculously exuberant reworking of super-fast hardcore techno, sweetened with tumbling, intricate melody lines that are constantly twisting and evolving. The music never descends into mindless repetition, and the overall effect is optimistic, energising and life-affirming.
Old favourites such as Lion Hat and Wee Monsters were accompanied by new material which stretched the template, taking the music into new areas. A slower, dubstep-influenced track, whose title has yet to be confirmed, should be coming out as a free download within the next few weeks.
Fifteen years ago, music of this rhythmic intensity would have formed the soundtrack for long nights of chemical excess. These days, its natural constituency is a teenage audience who aren’t even old enough to drink – for although the gig was a sell-out, the bar was clear for service all night.
Headlining the show, the dance-punk band Hadouken! took the night to even further extremes of wild abandon – but for future success and impact (could a Nineties dance revival be just around the corner?), the smart money has to be on Unicorn Kid.