The mission of Manchester, England, dance-rock band the Space Monkeys is simple enough: musical time-travel 10 years into the past, with a nod to the cutting edge. The 3-year-old quartet inexplicably but somewhat effectively revisits the easily forgotten land of shoegazer bands like the Happy Mondays, Stone Roses and Ride, adding their own modern twists like rap samples, jungle beats and house rhythms to the classic Brit-pop formula.
At the half-full Troubadour, the Space Monkeys played an earnest but somewhat sluggish show. Singer-guitarist Richard McNevin-Duff sang his lyrics of introspection, loathing and hopefulness in an unpracticed half-shout, similar to Oasis’ Liam Gallagher, but not nearly as interesting to watch.
The Monkeys, about midway through their first full U.S. tour, were at their best when engaging in extended, DJ-driven dance romps, as on current single “Sugar Cane.” Also a highlight was the opening song, the wild dance number “Acid House Killed Rock and Roll,” with its high-energy, dance-floor propulsion and tongue-in-cheek lyrics about the presumed downfall of rock music.