NME Rock Tour Review
The Automatic, The View...
As Marlon Brando was wont to mumble in 'Apocalypse Now', 'The Horrors, The Horrors.' In fact Brando and Faris Rotter, lead-singer with Art-school spectres The Horrors have much in common, not least their mumbling, mangled and utterly magnetic delivery. This shambolic five-piece are, by far, the most interesting act on tonight's NME bill, lurching out of the traps with the heavy heavy monster sound of 'Jack The Ripper'. The guitars are distorted, the organ sepulchral, their sound a glorious meshing of Link Wray, The Ramones and Alien Sex Fiend.
Many in the audience, come in anticipation of a different 'Monster' altogether; seem somewhat bewildered with this raging, fright-wigged, rocket from the crypt. Rotter cavorts like Linda Blair in The Exorcist, clambering up onto the balcony, a mischievous little devil if ever I saw one. The Horrors: they're not anti-Christs, just very naughty and very entertaining boys.
The View, guitar music's latest, greatest saviours since, umm, The Arctic Monkeys, The Libertines, Oasis and so it goes on. Nonetheless, there's no doubting the vigour these young rapscallions bring to their live performance, the audience are enjoying the illicit delights of their half-inched tunes, brimful of Cornershop, a dash of Doherty, lashings of The La's and a gram of Gallagher. Nice. Their true grit lyrics, all mundane Milburn and no magic Monkeys let them down, but enthusiasm sees them through and the crowd love their down with the people vibe. 'Same Jeans' is an inevitable wow and the closing 'Superstar Tradesman' seals the deal.
Much as last year's headliners Maximo Park saw themselves surpassed by Arctic Monkeys, so events and The View have overtaken this year's top-billed band, The Automatic. So much so that they've lost more than a third of their audience before they've even played a note. Undeterred they proceed to give it plenty, not least human Jack-In-The-Box, sometime keyboardist and occasional shouty feller, Pennie. The sound is samey, but they've a clutch of decent tunes. 'Monster' defies overuse to stomp its big-footed melody all over the Ulster Hall, newie 'Secret Police' whizzes and whirrs, all Toytown keyboards and hyperventilating rhythms. They finish proceedings with a brace of beauties, the insatiable melodics of 'That's What She Said' and stop-start attack of 'Recover'.
NME Awards Tour 2007, occasionally fun and diverting, but in its capacity to enthuse and for originality, it wins no prizes.
Photos by Alan Maguire