Monday, April 30, 2007

U.S. misses out on excellent View

Scotland’s latest sensation, the View, should be packing their bags for their Boston debut. Instead they’re scheduled to play my town of Dublin on the day they were scheduled to hit T.T. the Bear’s Place. The reason? They were denied entry because of frontman Kyle Falconer’s criminal record, which is stained by drug possession.

It’s a price you pay when associating with the likes of Kate Moss’ squeeze and renowned drug fiend Pete Doherty. Then again, drugs and run-ins with the law didn’t do Pete’s career in Babyshambles any harm.

The View’s members, who average 21 years in age, are doing incredibly well, at least in their homeland. They’ve scored three top 20 hits and a No. 1 platinum CD with “Hats Off to the Buskers,” a genre-defying album that combines jangly pop sensibilities the Kinks would be proud of with the urban grittiness that the Monkeys have popularized. No matter what you think of them as individuals, the music they make is truly sublime.

Yet it’s unlikely they’ll be able to give it a live, Stateside airing anytime soon, as their tour has been postponed indefinitely.

There’s still plenty to talk about with bad-boy Falcone - but conversing with him on the phone is like talking to a 5-year-old nephew forced to converse by a pushy mother.

“How’s it going?” I ask.


“What are you up to?”

“Watching telly.”

“What are you watching?”


“What did you think about not getting the visas?”

“It’s not really fair, but it’s what happened.”

OK. I forgive him. Somewhere behind the sullenness is a creative genius. Sadly, once Falconer does become enthused enough to utter more than a couple of syllables, his thick Scottish accent makes it impossible to understand what he’s saying. And if I, a Londoner living in Dublin, can’t understand him, just imagine what happened when the View did manage to gain entry to the United States for a brief visit.

“It was quite difficult when we did a couple of U.S. dates at the start of the year,” I think I hear him say. “We’d say anything to anyone and they’d say, ‘What? Sorry, what? Sorry, what?’ about 10 times. I guess we’ll just have to speak a bit slower.”

Now there’s only a slim chance of the View making it back anytime soon. It’s not too surprising American officials consider them a liability: They’ve been troublesome scamps since the band first formed. Not only was Falconer arrested for cocaine possession, the View were banned from the very pub they took their name from. All very rock ’n’ roll, but not a whole lot of fun for fans.

“I suppose that’s true,” Falconer said. “But if you think about (music) as a job too much, you’re not going to have a laugh.”

The View’s new plan is to apply for a waiver that would allow Falconer into the United States for a limited time, maybe as soon as their May 8 album release. With a little luck you’ll get to enjoy the View from Boston.

By Shilpa Ganatra, The Boston Herald, Sunday, April 29, 2007


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