First up, let me just say that Closure In Moscow played the best gig I've seen in years last week at the Garage.

Ridiculously tight, funky, hilarious, thrilling rock music performed to a sold-out, crowd of absolute devotees who could not stop cheering and applauding between every song - something that seemed to take the band by surprise: vocalist Christopher De Cinque just flabbergasted by the love and appreciation in the room, at one point saying "Guys, seriously, I know we're sick - but we're not that sick". We duly let them know that, no Christopher, you really are this sick.

So much progressive and psychedelic music is consumed by a morbid seriousness but there was none of that here tonight, it was raucous from the first delirious note of set opener 'Sweet#hart' to the closing exuberance of 'Happy Days'. The band jammed out a lot of their songs, the key moments in 'Neoprene Byzantine' had a stupidly enjoyable James Brown segue thrown into the song's mid-section before bursting back into delirium, 'Church Of The Technochrist' being treated to a deliciously funky rendition of Michael Jackson's 'Wanna Be Startin Something' in the former's spiralling bridge.

This was a sound of a band that has put in the hard yards jamming, each musician knowing each other implicitly. Some of the licks traded between guitarists Michael Barrett and Mansur Zennelli were just barefaced cheek; this was daftly enjoyable guitar music that put smiles on the faces of all in the crowd.

It was a small gig, around 300 people in attendance, but sold-out and for a band that still lacks a European record deal it was striking that those who were in attendance were so committed to this band, so elated at being able to see them play live. The gig was over too soon, despite a set that packed in most of the highlights from their two albums. I won't forget the whole room dancing to A Night At The Spleen in a long while; it's so hard to get crowds to move, but there was genuine happiness and lucid sexiness in the air.

I remember walking home beaming, and I don't think I've quite gotten rid of this stupid grin since the gig. Simply put, you need to see this band live.

Unfortunately, news broke the next day that they'd had the tour bus broken into whilst playing. A GoFundMe where the band have humbly asked for any donations to make up for those crushing losses has accrued over half of the requested total in just under a week.

We caught up with their guitarist Mansur Zennelli before the show.

Manny, good evening and hello. It's a real pleasure to have Closure In Moscow here, finally. How has England been treating you?

Mansur Zennelli: Fantastic, truly. It's the third time we've been here and it just gets better for us every time. The amount of people coming to our shows, the vibe. People just love music in this country and they come out and show it.

I discovered you guys about two years ago and it just shocked me that you didn't have European representation, so I'm really glad to see you here. What's been the highlight of the tour so far?

MZ: Besides meeting people that are just ridiculously stoked on music, just honestly, the best thing about touring in general is just the opportunity to take your music to other countries and play it out, that in itself is just ridiculously good. Any day that you can play music on the other side of the world and get even one person to come out is fucking mindblowing. Yesterday we played in Milton Keynes and there were people singing along. It just never fails to blow my mind. And we're a small band, you know, but I guess this is the power of the Internet these days.

I wanted to ask you about Pink Lemonade, your most recent album. It's a concept album, or a record that tells a story, with characters, it's got a beginning, middle and an end. In terms of composition though, how much of the record was driven by a desire to express that narrative, or just writing songs?

MZ: Well, ok - so the narrative was there in place first, as an idea - and we kinda built songs around it. The only way we could really do that and take people on this aural journey, if you will, without wanting to sound too wanky, was to get different styles in there, different genres... I'd like to say about 50/50, everything had to fit the ideas we had, but at the same time, if you write this part you think is sick, then it's a sick part regardless and you're like, well fuck we have to use this, we'll figure it out.

That last riff in the album closer 'Happy Days' is just like the sun bursting out the clouds. It's a moment where the music so perfectly aligns to the narrative...

When people talk about relatively progressive music, psychedelic music - the thing you commonly hear is that it's criticised for being self-indulgent. But what is that, even?

MZ: Totally, like if writing isn't self-indulgent, what is it? Like, why would I write something I don't want to write? I could write a three minute thirty pop banger, sure I can, but it'll be garbage because that's not what I'm into, I don't like it - so the music we make, I don't know, is it self-indulgent? Sure, but isn't that a good thing? I've got good friends who are songwriters for other artists and stuff, that's what they do for a living - and they hate it! They want to write opuses and crazy shit, but that's not what they're doing for a job. What they get paid to do by labels and radio and stuff, is write jingles, write those hooks, that catchy pop stuff - regurgitated, homogenised shit, produced for the masses, consumed by the masses, who just lap it up. So, I don't know, I guess we're lucky in that we get to write music that makes us happy.

It's also that compromise when you're writing, thinking about your audience, their expectations - I know that you guys threw a lot of your fanbase with Pink Lemonade...

MZ: Well yeah, but I feel like if you start thinking about that kinda of stuff, like top 40 charts and billboard playlists and whatever, then you've already lost because you're second guessing yourself. Thinking that if I write this part a certain way then it'll get more radio airplay and then people will come to my show, we'll make it and it'll be awesome... But are those the people you want to be coming to your shows? And is that making it, really? Will it be awesome? Probably not. You've just to write the music that you want to write.

Look, if that's what you set out to do, then whatever - but I would rather play to fucking four dudes in Plymouth who are there and just stoked on our music, than play in some arena to 4,000 people who are there but they don't really know why.

I imagine there are elements of compromise with a lot of artists though. Did you guys have any pushback from your label at the time with regard to writing such a theatrical record?

MZ: Yeah, definitely. I mean, we're independent now, which obviously is a lot slower at times, a more arduous route... But that's the holy mountain we're trying to climb. We were met with a bit of hesitation from the label with Pink Lemonade though. To cut a long, potential legally troublesome story short - we went to them with this idea for an album that we want to write a record about people that are chasing false dreams and ideologies and tell it through the metaphor of this pink fizzy lemonade. This tacky, bullshit thing that the character, and we all, go for to shortcut to enlightenment... And they just stood there perplexed, like you could literally see the numbers rolling in their head until they went 'nah' and we said 'um, yeah' and they said 'nah' and we were basically 'well, fuck you then'. Then began that arduous, two-year process. But we are here.

And then only being accountable to yourselves... When I reviewed Pink Lemonade, I talked a bit about Jodorowsky and his Dune project, pitching that to producers and no one being willing to take a punt on something that ambitious or out-there.

MZ: Yeah exactly. So now we're independent and yeah, we do only account to ourselves. That's important. Unfortunately, the back-end of that is that we're also the bank. Everything we sell goes back into the band, so every t-shirt, every record, it all helps facilitate us being able to make more music.

I wanted to ask you about genre, because I saw that you've been dismissive of it on Facebook as criteria.

MZ: That's the whole thing, I mean -so, what are you writing for? You can say, oh we're a prog-rock band or whatever, but as soon as you start labelling yourselves, then you're just confining yourself to that in the music you're writing. If I said to you, I'm an EDM producer, then that just sets the expectations in your audience. I'd rather show and not tell. I think a lot of the time it comes things outside your control, like labels or retailers, some way of marketing it.

I think people consume music these days in such a postmodern way, there's almost nothing to be said for having Taylor Swift next to the Mahavishnu Orchestra in your collection.

MZ: I mean we listen to everything from Beyonce to Bartok so I kinda refuse to answer that question, when people ask me what kind of music I make... I mean, sometimes I'm around at [Michael] Barrett's house and we're making electro stuff or whatever, it's just music.

So, ok - what have you been listening to recently?

Ooh, ok. Um. Recently, a lot of 80s synth pop... Modern stuff, but totally referential, kinda this throwback. There's this band from the UK called Gunship. I live with Chris [De Cinque, vocalist] and our other friend Cody, he's a Twitch streamer... Cody got us into Gunship.

Are there any bands from Australia that could do with a bit of recognition?

Oh man, so many. Strangers are great. Hiatus Kaiyote, they're just so great I'm not sure they need a shout out or anything! They're doing fine.

You mentioned Twitch… Isn’t Chris into that? [he streams as wetforjesus]

MZ: Yeah, I mean we all play video games but he's deep in the whole community, and there is this really solid foundation of people there. They even come out to our shows now and it's amazing. Every single date on this tour, there's been at least one person from the Twitch community. There's like ten here tonight. It's crazy. And it's such a creative environment, like on the surface it's just people playing video games, but there are so many cool people there: programmers, designers, artists, and I suppose that really resonates with Chris and with myself, I'm a bit of a lurker on there too.

Right, time for the silly questions. Pick four guests for a dinner party, dead or alive.

MZ; Ziggy-era Bowie, for one.

I'm not sure he'd be eating though; more likely doing lines off the table...

MZ: Yeah, true - but that leads to my next person: Freddie Mercury. Osho, the poet. Shakespeare as well. And one more? It's a bit of a sausage fest at the moment. Margaret Thatcher.

Jesus, she's the life and soul of any party. OK, what's the first song you remember hearing in your childhood?

MZ: 'Under my thumb', Rolling Stones. We had that on vinyl.

Film recommendation?

MZ: Oh, dude. I'm obsessed with films, like I can't Netflix and Chill, because there's no chilling. I've probably seen it already so I'm fucked. One of my favourite movies of all time is Pulp Fiction.

Every single line of dialogue in that film is perfect.

Totally, it's so hilarious.

Thank you so much for your time, Manny. Just the final obligatory question, what's next for Closure In Moscow?

MZ: Ok, well so after this tour - which finishes in Amsterdam - we go back to Australia, a few shows there, and then into writing and working on what will be our next album. And for that, we just need to lock ourselves away and work on it, work on it till it's done. And I would love to come back here and build up a solid foothold in the UK.

Mansur and I then emailed as the band made their way to Vienna. I asked him about how the theft had affected the band.

It's quite demoralising! Touring on its own with no setbacks or hiccups is hard at the best of times. Most tours run at a loss so to minimize the financial loss we try to cram as many dates into the trip as possible and when something like that happens it throws a giant spanner in the works.

Fortunately everything worked out fine and the Australian embassy in London were completely on the ball and got us our passports so we could continue the tour and not miss any dates.

Unfortunately the financial strain and just the logistics takes a toll on you mentally and physically. It runs you down and if one of us falls, the entire group falls. Getting sick on the road whilst trying to sort out all the passports and police and shows and travel was hard.

But all in all, it is another story to tell and another situation we deal with as an independent touring live band. I love music and won't stop making it.


Donate to the Closure in Moscow GoFundMe here, and stream their ridiculously brilliant opus Pink Lemonade here.