Stellastarr* and The Sounds
London Metro Club, Oxford Street

The Metro club is your typical London indie shit hole. The beer is shit, the room is hot, the stage is tiny and the security are the scariest men I have ever seen this side of a Hellraiser film. If Jarvis was a cockney, this is the kind of seedy pit that he'd have spent his youth in. It's a fucking hole.

Anyway, rant aside, support band The Sounds take to the stage to seemingly quite a good response. I won't even try to pretend that I know anything about them. The lead singer has obviously been reading the "Debbie Harry guide to being a female vocalist" guidebook but unfortunately forgot to read the chapter about writing decent tunes. Actually, they weren't that bad really. They're harmless enough. But other than the singer constantly spitting (yes, folks, spitting) at the audience (like, yeah, that's really going to make me like you) I can remember little else about them.

Stellastarr* take to the stage with "Lost In Time" from second album "Harmonies For The Haunted". Lead singer Shawn Christensen seems to have got a bit shorter than I remember him being and has got a very nice sensible new haircut. If it wasn't for his, ahem, distinctive shall we say, vocal style I'd be convinced it was a different person. There's a nice mix of songs from their debut and second albums in there. Highlights include newie's "Damn this Foolish Heart" and the haunting "The Diver" as well as old classics like "Jenny", "In The Walls" and closer of tonights set "My Coco". Stellastarr* are one of those bands that really shine on a live stage. Bassist Amanda Tannens' backing vocals deserve a special mention all of their own really. In a fair world, a band like Stellastarr* would be huge. If you compare them to the current crop of betwetters (Keane, Coldplay, Blunt, yawn... oooh so sleepy...) in terms of stage presence, excitement and songwriting ability, they are solar systems away from them. But then again for that to happen it would involve people possibly not listening to shite.

And we all know that that'll never happen.

Richard Bull

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