Sammy Tokyo with the bandana
Wembley to Tokyo
By Linda Serck
With the Rugby world cup final lodged in everyone's psyche, it was a hard task for Reading's bands to bring joy to those who sloped off to Plug n Play at the final whistle. BBC Berkshire watched Hello Wembley and OK Tokyo step up to the challenge.
Club Velocity | Plug 'n' Play | Milford Road | Reading | 20.10.07
The mood in town isn't great. England have just lost the rugby and the disappointment among the subdued crowd at the Blagrave Arms is palpable. The party is over, the balloons are flaccid, the champagne is stale. Or is it?
A quick taxi drive to Plug 'n' Play and the atmosphere is thankfully relaxed, with no one even mentioning rugby, the disallowed try, Wilkinson etc. We'll certainly have no sports trophy dampening a night of rip-roaring music here thank you very much indeed.
Having missed the first two bands I make sure I'm paying attention for Hello Wembley. And to be honest you can't do anything but pay attention to this bunch of raucous synth punksters.
A friend remarks the singer bears a passing resemblance to Mika, what with his crop of tumbling dark curls, which are now being thrashed about rhythmically to the angular spasmodic jerks from the body they're attached to.
The bleeps of the vaudevillian dance hall keyboard cruises happily over the crunch of guitars, beats and shouty singing.
Their own Rowetta, the slinky Debbie in zebra print dress, adds a touch of panache to a performance that is otherwise akin to a Lahndahn roadhouse brawl.
A batch of thumping tunes, topped off by crowd favourite Dancefloor Filler, mounts Hello Wembley on the mantlepiece of Reading music favourites.
OK Tokyo don't come on until a quarter past midnight - and considering that the After Dark eighties night is a secure fixture in practically everyone's diary, it's to the band's credit there's still a sizeable crowd.
The bandana on frontman Sammy's forehead and jean-clad knee prefaces a Rambo-esque escapade into their sonic slab of 'adventure rock'.
Monolithically growling power chords boom across falsetto exclamations, rhythms tug and pull you left and right, and for each two-and-a-half minute song we're treated to a sensational roar of energy that peaks at a level marked 'euphoria'.
Songs such as Marvellous, Electro Metro and You Better Believe It all torpedo into the audience with the finesse that's attracted labels to the band like moths around the proverbial flame.
It's breath-taking and boisterous - who the hell needs rugby?
last updated: 22/10/07
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