The Secret Handshake live at Kings College Student’s Union

When you go to see what has been described as indie electronica, it is a little difficult to pin point what to expect. Self taught musician, and main man for the band Luis, has been involved in a couple of bands before settling on The Secret Handshake. It has been a good few years since Luis pulled the band together, writing all the material they perform.

On this particular night, I wasn’t quite sure what to make of the performance. I was brightly astounded when Luis refused to start until the microphones had the correct volume before interacting and singing to the crowd. This showed real dedication in putting on a bright and well-maintained performance. But as the performance began, I had my doubts. Luis provided all the vocal organs, which were excellent and then there were a bassist and drummer adding in their 10 cents. Not much in the way of a band I hear you saying. This would be because the majority of what was heard came from the laptop that Luis kept walking back to. All the keyboard sounds and electronica that came from The Secret Handshake in this show came from the laptop and not the live band.

Tracks that the band was performing such as ‘Too Young’ and ‘Game Girl’, all had dance rhythms, and sounds to match. ‘Summer ‘98’ from the bands record ‘One Full Year’ was definitively a crowd favourite. Luis knows what to do to entertain and made sure it was being done. Screaming about dancing and having a good time is always going to get a crowd worked up and their feet moving. One track that stood out was ‘Midnight Movie’ when a guest vocalist came out to offer a little more hip-hop to the styling of The Secret Handshake.

The show ended surprisingly with a verse of Cher’s ‘Believe’, which I think got the fans a little confused, yet engrossed. I can understand that the style of music played by The Secret Handshake would work so well on the dance floor, pumping these sounds from a sound system, while fans dance their arses off. Unfortunately, as a live act, there wasn’t such to be excited about, apart from a laptop sitting on a stall as if another band member. All round, great songs, but more is needed on the performance angle.