Feeling Gloomy claims to be a club devoted to playing sad music. While it doesn't entirely do what it says on the tin (the DJ selections get positively jaunty as the evening progresses), at least the idea represents an interesting deviation from the usual club concept, which insists on relentless rictus-grin fun being had at all times.
There's certainly no danger of Capital X breaking the mood with a sudden burst of unwarranted cheeriness. Deadpan, reserved, and exuding an offhand cool, the two members of the band station themselves behind their keyboards with the resigned air of the head girls of the school who, much against their will, have been asked to look after a class of unruly first years while the teacher's off sick. Somehow, you know that Capital X won't be tolerating any nonsense tonight. What we've got here is equal parts electronica and attitude.
For all that they're an entirely electronic band, Capital X are very rock 'n' roll. Their songs hammer along on fast, relentless beats, over which electricity is forced to emit strange sounds. If anyone was expecting traditional, accessible, bouncy synthpop...well, we're not in that zone tonight. Capital X play it fast and fractured, but they don't play nice. They remind me of Suicide: the none-more-electro line-up, the clattering express train songs, and the glowering rock god demeanour. But instead of Martin Rev's mutant-Elvis croon, Capital X declaim their lyrics in a poker-faced monologue from behind a Yamaha DX7.
The singer warns us to expect a certain amount of holding back in the vocal department tonight: 'Because I've got flu.' And then she adds, in a voice so matter-of-fact that she could be informing us of the local bus timetable, 'But no sympathy, please, this is rock 'n' roll.' In that moment, the essential collision that lies at the heart of Capital X is revealed: somewhere inside, they're a seething rock band reined in by their own austere, detached, Kraftwerkian coolness, and it's the tension that arises out of this incongruous mash-up that makes it work. Not what you'd usually expect from a two-piece electronic outfit, perhaps, and anyone seeking synthpoppy candyfloss is likely to go home disappointed. But I doubt if Capital X will lose much sleep over the fate of disgruntled electro-heads. No sympathy please, this is rock 'n' roll.
Capital X: MySpace
For more photos from this gig, find Capital X by name here.