Sparklehorse Empire Shepherd's Bush, Oct 3 - By Stephanie Heney

The support tonight came from Neutral Milk Hotel, which can be best discribed as a chaotic folk/grunge band. However, for a support band they unusually keep the audience's attention and their pissing about on stage is both endearing and amusing. Sounds not bad either.

Sparklehorse are on a proper tour this time. A month ago we saw them at Hackney Empire, skeletal and nervous. Here they are ready, with effects, samples, distorted microphones, a full line up (including Sophia Mitchalitsianos whose vocals are an angel to Mark's devil) and a more professional show complete with bubble machine. The first four songs are from Vivadixie.. and it is good to see the band aren't simply on a promotional jaunt (the new single doesn't even get played). The slow songs are divine. Even more stripped down and lo fi are classics such as Spirit Ditch, the guitar wrenchers such as Hammering the Cramps still hold our affections as they are given a new life with distortion and effects. The venue is completely packed out this evening and the band are given no choice but to do two encores. Finally the talents of Sparklehorse are being recognised, and it's about time too.