Thursday, February 01, 2007

Dublin NME Tour Review

GIVING young bands a shot at the mass market is ostensibly the purpose of the annual NME tour. But what if a band is perfectly capable of wooing the public all on its own?

This became a problem on last year's tour, when one of the opening acts, the Arctic Monkeys, thoroughly overshadowed the rest of the bill. Twelve months later, the line-up may have changed yet the scenario feels suspiciously familiar: support group The View have just released a number one album and would probably have packed the Ambassador on their own.

Watching The View romp through their raggedly uplifting set, it's easy to understand the fuss. Four Dundee ragamuffins, none aged a day over 20, the quartet got their first break by pressing a demo tape into Pete Doherty's hand and have acquired an influential cheerleader in Noel Gallagher.

Not surprisingly, then, their music charts a course between The Libertines and Oasis. And, as with the best Oasis songs, The View's skewed singalongs transmit a palpable yearning, no matter that the band are apparently more interested in necking pints of beer than venting any sort of inner pain.


Towards the end, guitar player Pete Reilly climbs a speaker and strikes a ludicrous rock-god pose. He should look ridiculous. Instead, he looks iconic.

How to follow such a display? At first, The Automatic, Welsh indie-poppers with a synth-laced sound, appear stuck for an answer.

Then, an idiot from the crowd mounts an amp and tries to light a cigarette. Clambering in pursuit, Automatic keyboardist Alex Pennie makes to stuff the cigarette down the interloper's throat. Scuffles ensue - for one frightening moment it seems the pair might plunge into the audience below. If only The Automatic's stop-start brit rock was half as thrilling.



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