It may be a school night, exams may still be ongoing, and someone seems intent on flicking the switch to off, but in a pub in Southampton a bunch of kids, many of them far too young to drink, are going ballistic. Wired and sweat-drenched bodies jump in excited unison, hands are raised in exultation - there’s a real sense of unadulterated joy and chaos rushing out of every pore; welcome to the full throttle, pumped up world of the lion hat sporting electronic boy wonder - Unicorn Kid.
There’s something about Unicorn Kid’s overexcited mix of glitchy chip tune that is infectious and glorious - it brings the vibe of heady e-fuelled second summer of love rave euphoria or the mosh-pit energy of a rock gig, complete with crowd surfing and boys taking their tops off. Not everything he creates is just the berserk sound of Gameboy mentalism - several tracks including the recently released Dream Catcher have a darker, tripper heaviness which reverberate through the body.
Even when for the third time that night the sound cuts out just as blasts of beats, dirty sub-bass and vibrant colourful electronics raise the roof, it doesn’t stub out the atmosphere - instead there’s just enough time to catch your breath before the dancing re-ignites.
Oliver Sabin, aka Unicorn Kid is not simply a man standing on stage poking a laptop and twiddling a few knobs, he’s an unrestrained human dynamo full of enthusiasm. Leaping and punching at the air against a backdrop of projections, by the time he gets to the last track Animal City you have to wonder if he’ll need an oxygen tank to recover in afterwards. A joyous and riotous evening of fun - certainly not Casiotone for the painfully alone, the only question that remains is if Unicorn Kid can broaden his appeal to a larger audience. On the evidence of this show, it’s certainly possible.
*Here a short clip of the gig - the sound quality is very poor as it was filmed on a small camera, but it gives an impression of the energy that was sustained from the word go to the finish.