Hello lovers, here some shit about some shit hot bands. It's loads of writing, see I promised more verbalisation from me! Woooooo.
The annual NME Awards Tour can be a tricky one. Most of the time, the line-up is a random selection of good looking people with guitars, who are hyped as the new ‘it’ band of the moment by the ubiquitous magazine. This, you might say, really isn’t a testament to greatness.
However, this year the tour dropped a stellar line-up ranging from cheerful pop enthusiasts Bombay Bicycle Club and The Drums to Doom-Noise-Rockers The Big Pink and everybody’s favourite band The Maccabees.
Stepping inside the Bristol Academy to find first band of the night The Drums in full swing, one might wonder who singer Jonathan Pierce is trying harder to impersonate: Brandon Flowers or Ian Curtis. Either way, he knows how to command the crowd, who neither get distracted by his odd mannerisms nor by his extremely effeminate stage persona. Pierce’s voice sounds brisk and razor-sharp and guitarist Jacob Graham’s pleasingly catchy guitar hooks jingle just as hypnotically as on their debut E.P. ‘Summertime’. First single ‘I Wanna Go Surfing’ goes down a treat all the more for it creating an instant crowd singalong.
The Drums play an intensely tight set with a frontman, who bounces around on stage like a combination of the Duracel rabbit and an overly animated frat-boy. The band’s non-stop energy and Pierce’s fiercely emotional musical renditions of the misery that is his love-life entice the crowd from the very first note. One can only thank God that the singer got his heart broken if these uplifting and utterly blissful tunes are the result of it.
‘Saddest Summer’ deals with the loss of innocence and hope, nonetheless it is a breezy west-coast anthem injected with pure sunshine and pop-tastic melodies in the style of a more cheerful Weezer. During set-closer ‘Me and The Moon’ Pierce projects “It’s forever and forever and forever” into the audience and for just a moment you wholeheartedly want to believe him.
Next on the bill are The Big Pink, who with their dark-fuzz-distortion and even darker outfits are the polar opposite of The Drums’ anthemic sunshine pop. Admittedly, they are hard to get into if you’ve just been on vacation in pop-heaven, but after a while of noise terrorism a la Atari Teenage Riot, you find yourself strangely entranced by their hazy and somewhat self-indulgently obscure noise-fest. Haters would label them as Black Rebel Motorcycle Club just fuzzier, but everybody in their right mind can appreciate the wall-of-sound immensity that The Big Pink sonically assault you with. It’s the SBTKRT-like menacing booms and blips that make The Big Pink special not that ‘Dominoes’ crap though.
Even though that comparison stinks, next band Bombay Bicycle Club are like Bombay Sapphire Gin, watered-down, bland and utterly head-ache inducing, so let’s move on to the highlight of the night: The Maccabees.
Now I don’t want to sound soppy, but The Maccabees are really onto something. It’s in the gyrating dance moves of remarkably handsome lead-singer Orlando. It’s in the perfectly-timed staccato riffs of guitar-man Hugo White and most of all it’s in the quirky imagery and wide-eyed sensitivity of their lyrics. ‘First Love’ must be one of the most unusual and idiosyncratic love songs of all time thriving on a wonderfully tongue-in-cheek naivety, whilst ‘X-Ray’ is a bona-fide dance-floor filler with high-powered, forceful riffs and chirpy melodies. Songs from the second album ‘Wall of Arms’ are similarly warmly received as the ones from the debut with set-closer ‘No Kind Words’ standing out in particular. It showcases a gloomier and more subtle version of The Maccabees, which proves that they aren’t only versatile and extremely gifted, but that the next album coming from this indie-outfit is really something to look forward to.