Monday, February 22

NME Awards Tour @ Brixton Academy

. Monday, February 22

Fitting four bands into four hours is always going to be a challenge and teamed with Saturday evening traffic in London means that much of The Drums set is missed by Gigwise. We do however manage to catch the final two songs of their show including a rousing version of ‘Let’s Go Surfing’. Despite doing little to argue against the theory that they have only got one truly great song The Drums certainly look the part. Lead singer Jonathan Pierce commands the stage like a man who has been doing this for far longer than this bands tender years and set closer ‘Best Friend’ sees the band finishing as if they are headliners. You suspect that in a years time they will have the stature to match their ambition.

The Big Pink are a band seemingly designed to play in as big a venue as possible. Their sound has become gargantuan following support slots with Muse and Pixies and tonight they play Brixton for the third time in under a year. Guitarist Robbie Furze channels his past in digital hardcore bands to great effect as he attacks his mirrored guitar with an aggression normally reserved for enemies not friends. ‘Too Young To Love’ rumbles and rolls the band into vision, through the smoke and haze they then run through a series of industrial lullabies for the hard of hearing. Playing to a somewhat subdued crowd the band do their best to kick start the evening but perhaps the serrated edges and muscular nature of the band seems to jar with an audience here to see three clean cut indie pop bands. Not to be deterred however, The Big Pink hit out with a snarling rendition of ‘Velvet’ before garnering a cheer of recognition for the ubiquitous ‘Dominos’. Furze ends the set in the crowd having propelled himself skywards during the closing moments of the set. Tonight might not have been the victory lap they expected but The Big Pink are quickly establishing themselves as one of this country’s finest live bands.

Bombay Bicycle Club were always going to struggle to match the sonic girth of The Big Pink but what they lack in muscle they make up for in popularity. Cheered like heroes from their first steps onstage these four young men from London have developed slowly and surely into a heart warming and well loved band. It’s not hard to see why either. Their music is a gentle mix of folk ditties and more upbeat indie disco numbers like ‘Magnet’ and ‘Dust On The Ground’. Singer Jack Steadman’s deep and rich baritone is the bands greatest strength and they play to it well. What is most remarkable about tonight’s performance however is just how popular the band are. Perhaps an oversight on our part but with an album met with relatively small fanfare and not appearing to be a band with a definitive song BBC appeared to be a good band but one lost in a tide of newer acts and bigger bands. It’s nice to be proven wrong however and the young audience here have clearly taken the band to their hearts. As ‘Always Like This’ brings a triumphant set to a close the band can look back on this show as a pivotal career moment.

When you record an album with Arcade Fire’s producer and purposely decide to add some meat to your skinny frame then you need to make it pay in large venues like this. The Maccabees more than step up to the gauntlet tonight, proving that they have stepped up mentally as well as in their recorded output. Opening with ‘William Powers’ the band are in a jubilant mood from the off and play through a hit flecked set with an infectious energy. Lead singer Orlando has shed his shy skin of their formative years and now leads his band perfectly, bashful but in control. His voice soars on ’Can You Give It’ and ’All In Your Rows’ but it is first album cut ’Precious Time’ which excels the most tonight. With this being the final night of this tour there are a few treats in store, chiefly being the appearance of Edwyn Collins. Performing his Orange Juice classic ‘Rip It Up’ is clearly a touching moment for the band and it shows in their shyness around the great man. It’s still a triumphant moment however and one all involved will remember fondly. The set ends with the traditional stage invasion by all the bands involved as the brass band fan their goodbye to the sounds of ‘Love You Better’. You get the feeling those gathered tonight could not cherish The Maccabees any more if they tried.



mayaaargh said...

i love your reviews! xxx

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