It seems a lifetime ago when four lads from Dundee found UK single success with the likes of tracks like "Wasted Little DJ's", "Same Jeans" and "5 Rebecca's". Approaching five years later, the immanent release of "Cheeky for a Reason" will be their fourth long player. So it was with interest that I approached the University's largest venue wondering if they had retained the fan based that propelled them to stardom in the mid to late noughties,
On arrival things didn't appear too promising. The capacity of 1,500 had been reduced by 2/3rd using well placed curtains. Also it appeared the band were already on stage well before nine o'clock playing to a decidedly spartan audience. However on closer examination it transpired that this was the support band, Liverpool's SOUND OF GUNS.
Remarkably lead singer Andrew Metcalfe is a dead ringer for The Views Kyle Falconer, and hence my cider assisted confusion. In fairness SOG are a more than competent band and certainly seem to have a touch of U2 about their anthemic songs. Singer Metcalfe even extends his Bono routine to include being raised, Messiah-like, by security above the heads of the largely enthusiastic audience. Their reputation is solid enough for one time Manic's producer Dave Eringa to man the boards on their new CD "What Came From Fire". I look forward to catching more of them in future.
By the time THE VIEW took to the stage, to the strains of "Kick out the Jams" by MC5, the crowd has swollen to around 250. For a band of this stature it must be disheartening to see a relatively small venue half empty. However, there performance on the night was nothing less than electric and at no time indicated any reticence in giving the paying customers their money's worth.
The four teenage urchins that had once graced MTV are now grown men and clearly gig-hardened, competent musicians. Kicking off with "Comin' Down" they proceeded to draw liberally on all four of their long players. In truth with them being out of the limelight for some time, I had forgotten what bloody good rock/songs they produce. "Wasted Little DJ's" certainly got the largely young audience moving and clearly demonstrated their song writing prowess.
Having never seen them live before I was particularly impressed with the interaction between front man Falconer and bass Kieren Webster who, more than once, swapped instruments and lead vocal duties. Also, as my compatriot The Pitman noted, drummer Steven Morrison seems to increasingly resemble Jesus, albeit with tattoos. Having said that, given he was up in court a couple of years ago for some pugilistic mayhem in his hometown, I don't think he obeys the cannon of turning the other cheek.
But just as I'm about to slip into a state of morbid depression the band conclude proceeding with a triumvirate of songs that stand comparison with any band - "5 Rebecca's", "Same Jeans and "Superstar Tradesman".
And there you have it. In some ways a sad and sobering experience. One that has led me to muse long and hard today on the likelihood of another British musical revolution like Merseybeat, heavy metal, punk, baggy or Britpop etc, ever taking place again. If a decent band like The View is unable to sell more that that a few hundred tickets, then things truly do look bleak and the dark forces at work in the music industry will have finally strangled the last gasps of revolutionary breath from the decaying body of British rock music.
On the other hand, the band played a blinding set and deserves respect for their enthusiasm and professionalism. Whilst the crowd was sparse, everyone was royally entertained and appreciated the ball breaking effort the band put in. In truth, the coming months are going to be critical for their long term future and I for one hope that things pan out well and Dundee's finest are in a position to return to the Principality for many years to come. The band used to have a quasi battle chant of "The Views on fire!" that was heard widely at their gigs, I only hope that tonight I haven't witnessed the dying embers of the band
Sadly missed, a Glamorgan boy at heart, rest easy. RIP