Friday, January 05, 2007

Astoria, Review 4/12/06

They've sold out the Astoria after just two singles, now can The View get London burning?
Jostling at the buzzing Astoria bar, five minutes before The View are due to headline their biggest show yet, is Ben, a man with an accent as thick as lumpy porridge. He grew up round the corner from the band's Dundee estate, Dryburgh. "I love 'em! I got up ridiculously early to buy my ticket and missioned it down here last night, even though I've seen them a million times before. They're legends," he explains, beaming with local pride through his enormous ginger beard. Yeah, the boys done good - and although selling out the Astoria two singles in may not be the jaw-dropping achievement it once seemed (here's looking at you, Enter Shikari), tonight is still a celebration of everything The View have done over the last six months and, more importantly, a celebration of everything they will achieve over the next six.

Like superheroes the lads swagger onstage to their theme tune: a room full of sweat-soaked hoodlums bellowing, "The View! The View! The View are on fire!", and launch into 'Comin' Down', a bash of guitar that thwacks everyone between the eyes, causing the crowd to respond with the kind of unbalanced moshing usually reserved for kicking-out time at the Dundee Pint'n'Punch. It's thrilling stuff, and Kyle, Kieren, Peter and Steve's swooshing curled locks highlight a difference between this lot and any other northern guitar-toting "gritty" four-pieces they might be compared to. Y'see, while the Monkeys arrived dressed more for the swings than the stage, The View are commanding the room like bona fide rock stars.

It's disappointing then, that after this firecracking opener their set descends into the three-star jaunty indie rock of 'Dance Into The Night'. But if there's one way to haul a crowd back to their feet it's by skyrocketing the absolute anthem that is 'Wasted Little DJs', which throws the crowd into rambunctious fits of ecstasy, their crazed limbs crowning the song as the people's choice in 2006. The Wasted Little DJs themselves, clad in gold, pounce on to the stage during the song, 50 times the cheerleaders that Peaches Geldof will ever be. Of course, by dropping 'Wasted...' four songs in they could be shooting their load far too early. Lucky, then, that this is a band with enough belters to keep any boozed-up crowd braying.

'Same Jeans'' hungover, harmonica-led beauty reveals the versatility of the band and confirms that The View have hidden depths - it's just that most of the time they prefer to rock out, something which they do very, very well. Kieren takes the lead on 'Skag Trendy', the chirpiest track you'll ever hear about a teenager debilitated by drug use, his rasping diction drenching a grateful front three rows in phlegm, before 'The Don''s ramshackle burst of energy dries them off again. But tonight there's something in the air aside from spit - and it isn't the trilbies of the London trendies being hung on the next big thing. No, the joyous lager fountains and inexplicable group hugging tells us everything - this is a band who connect with the hearts of an audience, this is a band the people can believe in and, like the Libs, Arctics or Oasis before them, this is a band that will tap into the public consciousness on a grand scale. Closing with 'Superstar Tradesmen' - a heartbreaking runaway train of squalling guitar that hits the throng like hot Tennant's to a vein - there's no need for an encore. No, that'll come later, when The View take Britain as their own.

Jamie Fullerton 5/1/07


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