Paradise Club at The Wedgewood Rooms, Southsea REVIEW: 'This was big, bold and confident'

Paradise Club make their debut at The Wedgewood Rooms, Southsea, on October 18, 2019. Picture by Paul Windsor
Paradise Club make their debut at The Wedgewood Rooms, Southsea, on October 18, 2019. Picture by Paul Windsor
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It’s been more than two years since local heroes Kassassin Street played what turned out to be their last show.

Earlier this year they finally broke cover with the announcement they were now called Paradise Club.

And aside from a low-key gig in Brighton back in May, this is their ‘proper’ launch gig.

READ MORE: Kassassin who? Meet Paradise Club

But don’t call it a comeback, so much as it is a reinvention.

And judging from the fact this gig sold out, I wasn’t the only one who’d missed them from the scene. There’s also a notable number of other local musicians in attendance, which demonstrates the esteem in which they are held by their peers.

Towards the end of Kassassin there was a more dancey edge creeping in to their material. But now they’ve properly leaned into it.

That everyone is given diffraction specs – popular at raves – on the way in should be a clue.

As the band start up, lasers fly over our heads – this is definitely not The Wedge’s regular lighting rig – and with the glasses on, it creates a tripped-out, kaleidoscopic effect.

And the sound is, as promised, like a rock band playing techno. There are worse touchstones than LCD Soundsystem…

Gone are the psychedelic tones of yore, and it’s in with the big beats. The four core members are tonight bolstered by three extra musicians, and the sound is huge.

Ryan Hill is joined on guitar by a guesting Jerry Williams – a well-known solo act in her own right. It’s interesting to see Jerry playing second fiddle when she’s normally centre-stage, but she’s clearly enjoying herself.

Frontman Rowan Bastable hasn’t lost his touch as a ringleader in the interim either – still capable of whipping the crowd up and throwing all the right poses.

There are a few concessions to their former incarnation – old single To Be Young prompts a mass singalong, and they finish with Centre Straight Atom, which may as well have been Kassassin’s signature tune.

But the majority of the material, though, is totally new to the audience, and it is full of crowd-pleasing hooks. 

This didn’t play though like the tentative first steps of a new act. It was big, bold and confident.

This marks a promising way forward. 

Kassassin Street is dead. Long live Paradise Club.