Tuesday, October 10, 2006

The Law & The View in Leicester Charlotte

Whoever thought of putting a variant of cops and robbers on the same bill was surely having a laugh, right?

If Coventry five-piece The Crooks stole the essence of the Stone Roses and turned it into a stereotypical Kasabian-lite fallacy, then The Law were hot on their tails to blow them away in a trail of bluegrass, punk and gypsy fettle.

Hailing from Dundee and best buddies of tonight's headliners, The Law may not be the most original band you'll see or hear this year (think a more Clash-personified Zutons and you're barking up the right tree) but they do know their way around a tune or two and in guitarist Stevie Anderson they possess a highly gifted exponent of the six-strings. His face may adorn the front page of one of those musician mags your dad buys in years to come.

Next up are Last Gang, and although their musical influences atre worn predominantly on their sleeves, their whole presence displays an air of confidence that merely eschews the 'when' not 'if' to their arrival into the big league.

While their potential was evident six months ago, one felt that they may have been swept away with the tide of bands steeped in classic British post-punk tradition. But, of course, there is one major sticking point that Last Gang have over most of their rivals in that every song could be a single in its own right. From the opening 'Show Me' and Kristian Walker's and Matt Smith's Jones-to-Strummer call-and-response vocal stylings on the tale of drunken shenanigans that is 'Beat Of Blue' - a ska-laced punk-pop ditty that simply begs to be shouted at football stadiums from Peterhead to Portsmouth - Last Gang could very well be the last line in classic anglicised day-in-the-life summaries for quite some time.

"The View are on fire! The View are on fire!" scream 50 or so kids - mostly teenage girls barely old enough to drink - from the front of the stage. Halfway through the set, after yet another sub-Lurkers second-division punk splurge, the thought of watching the four Scots go up in flames seems a more entertaining prospect than anything emanating from the speakers.

Fortunately, what comes before and after saves The View's bacon as it were, in that the likes of 'Scream And Shout' sounds like Alex Harvey at an Oasis fan convention and 'The Don' is pure, Coral-ized North Sea shantying of the highest order.

Overall, though, the jury is still out for a band who seem to have arrived in an instant with little or no warning other than drummer Steve Morrison having been arrested alongside a certain regular tabloid front-pager, supermodel dater and occasional singer/songwriter a few months back. Whether or not they're capable of - or will be allowed to by the bigwigs at Sony/BMG - developing into anything more than yet another Libertines copycat band remains to be seen, although judging by their unkempt appearance, there'll always be roles as extras if Daniel Day Lewis ever decides to make a follow-up to In The Name Of The Father.

Now who's got those matches...?

Dom Gourlay, drownedinsound.com, 18/09/2006


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