NME New Music Tour

Boy Kill Boy / iForward, Russia! / The Automatic / The Long Blondes
Cambridge Junction 16th May 2006

"Ah, but the kid's fucking love it..." - Anonymous

Right. I won't lie about it, usually anything pre-fixed, containing, or ending with the phrase NME sends a bit of a cold chill through me. Perhaps I'm not as "down" with the kids as I should be. Maybe I just don't "get" it anymore. But on the very few occasions I've had the misfortune to read the NME over the last few years, it has been filled to bursting point with 100 percent absolute utter indie shite with every single article more interested in band X's haircut or band Y's skinny tie than any noise that they actually make with their instruments. For this alone it should be taken to the trading standards council for false advertising. I don't like it in short. As you can imagine, I'm a bit worried about this gig...

So of course, arriving there at ten past 8, I've already fucked it up and missed the first band. So no Long Blondes for me. Oh well, I'm sure I'll survive. The bar seems to be incredibly empty seeing as the gig is sold out and this I blame squarely on the fact that the average member of the audience is approximately 5 years old, and on a school night too. I blame the parents. Going back to the hair topic, there is a an awful lot of hairspray in attendance. I make a mental note to be careful with my cigarettes.

Pic from www.theautomatic.co.uk

The Automatic bound onto the stage all smiles, bright colours and keyboards. God knows what kind of Horlicks these boys have been drinking but whatever it is it allows them to put on a non stop 30 minute or so show of fantastic bouncy electro rock. This is party music. Infact it's rather great. Outside of a live environment though, I'm not quite sure if they'd work so well, but tonight they get the crowd going like it was that proverbial party in 1999. Cambridge doesn't often get this excited.

Pic from www.joyzine.co.uk

I'd heard quite a bit about iForward, Russia! before but had never heard anything by them. Three things you should know, they have a shit name, they all wore matching T shirts with their own band name on, and they were absolutely fucking awful. It truly was a torturous 30 or so minutes of what can only be described as noise. If you imagine putting an out of tune music shop and an insane asylum in a cement mixer and then driving it off a cliff, that's the kind of noise they make. I really didn't think I could ever find anything more unlistenable than Coldplay, but step forward (no pun intended) iForward, Russia!, you are now officially number one on my shit list. Congratulations. I'm sure some people will react to this and say things like "oh but they're doing it on their own terms" and that they're "self financed" and blah blah. All highly commendable stuff, but, basically, they're terrible.

Thank Willy Wonka then for Boy Kill Boy. Here's a band who seem to have formed last week, got their record deal by Saturday and have managed to get the kind of following that most bands have to work years for. Bravely they open with the single "Back Again" which just sets the tone for the next forty minutes or so. Even current single "Suzie" is thrown away mid set. Admittedly they do seem to be a bit of a one trick pony with every song being a four minute blast of power pop. Catchy tunes with hooks not seen since The Texas Chainsaw Massacre. But you can forgive them for this as if it's a good trick, why bother changing it? There was one song though which started off alarmingly similar to something by Keane (all piano's and "competent" musicianship) but I'll let them off for that. For a band who, at the time of writing, haven't even put an album out they put in an incredibly energetic, and dare i say it, "fun" set. Probably next years Kaiser Chiefs. But nowhere near as annoying of course.

So that wraps up another NME tour. Perhaps I was a bit harsh with what I said about them earlier. Maybe I just don't understand the kids. Maybe I'm an old cynical slightly bitter fool. Maybe all that's true. Or maybe I just hate the NME because they usually write about a load of old toss. Yeah, that'll be it. There go my chances of a job then. Bugger.

Richard Bull

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