Shiny Toy Guns - Cambridge Soul Tree, 21st March 2007

Shiny Toy Guns can be summed up in one phrase. Electro-Pop-Rock. Now, to my ears, that gives you the best of all worlds. You get your Electro (good for powering sandwich toasters and night lights), you get your Pop (which despite everyones Indie/Rock/Dance snobbery is essentially the thing that is most important. Pop is ACE. Fact) and you get your Rock (nice for eating at the seaside or, in salt form, good for grinding down to use on your chips).

Self proclaimed as being "On tour forever", tonight is the last date of their UK tour having taken in seemingly even two bit shithole in the country. The Indie Kids are most certainly in the majority tonight. I simply can't imagine the amount of time it must've taken for some of these boys to get their hair right. There just couldn't be enough time. Not even if they began at the dawn of creation and arrived ten minutes late to the gig.

The band take to the stage all mascara and expensive Goth boots with enough smoke to scare even the most hardened cigar addict. All manner of strobes and lighting jiggery pokery are set off all over the place. The idea of having two vocalists (Girlie singer Carah Faye and Blokey singer Chad Petree) often giving a completely different tone to songs seems to work rather well at breaking up the setlist. It'll be all electro pounding bass one minute ("Le Disko", "Don't Cry Out"), and then almost metal-bordering-on-emo-territory type songs the next.

Surprises abound for their penultimate song of the evening. A kind of metal romp through one of Depeche Mode's finest, "Stripped" (Think the Rammstein version more than the Depeche Mode one though). And as if that wasn't enough, joining them onstage for this song is a special guest (I still have no idea as to whether this was planned or if they knew what was going on) which is a semi naked man resplendent with a horses head doing backing dance movements. It was almost surreal and had I been more drunk and not been supplied with photographic evidence, I would have doubted it had actually occurred. After thanking us all for coming and promising everyone to stick around to sign anything or just for a chat, they finish with "Rainy Monday". In short, a fantastic 50 minutes of fun.

Shiny Toy Guns are a band that really seem to have a connection with their audience. They are more than happy to do things the hard way by touring their arses off and for that they should be commended. They were recently offered a slot opening for Keane on their European tour and after posting a bulletin on their MySpace asking what the fans thought (it was a unanimous NO obviously), they thankfully declined.

If you are sick to death of the same old twee indie jingly jangly guitar rubbish that seems to get to number one every bloody week nowadays, give Shiny Toy Guns a chance. You won't be disappointed. And if you are disappointed, well, you're WRONG.

Words: Richard Bull

Pictures: Graham Bates

Thanks to Warren at Chuff Media for sorting us out!