This article originally appeared on the peerless (yet now sadly defunct) Gobshout.com. It's owners are now Suburban Tarts, who should be visited post-haste...
On Friday night I was assaulted in Covent Garden. Head-butted in the face, I was. Blood all over the place. And it was almost the low point of the weekend. But then I went to the pub this evening and saw a band so poor that I am not going to name them, or the pub. Instead, I’m going to generically rant about them for your reading pleasure.
It started poorly. As the band maneuvered their instruments onto the small stage, the signs of doom were all about. The trousers were genital-crushingly tight, the t-shirts achingly fashionable, the hair floppy on one side and long on the other. It seemed like a Spotters’ Guide to modern indie cliché. But something was wrong with this perfect picture: tans. This sort of band should look as though they are slightly unhealthy; as though they have been living off beans and deathly kebabs for the previous three months. They should not look as though they have recently returned from The Seychelles. These are almost definitely the Common People to whom Jarvis was referring. Nor should their drummer be wearing a designer shirt and looking a touch too much like Michael Hutchence for comfort.
So, before the first note had been struck, I had decided I hated this lot. I knew they would be rubbish, and they did not disappoint.
The ukelele is an instrument that can, in professional terms, “go either way”. It should not, for example, constitute the entire melody line of your Shoreditch-friendly indie band. Nor should it be played with accompanying head banging. Just close your eyes and imagine how stupid that looks. See?
Beyond this, there’s a singer for whom the concept of a consonant is clearly a foreign and slightly suspicious one. Having heard more than one Cure record (I don’t know this, but I’d put my next wage packet on it), he bleats away with a voice that leaves myself and my housemate struggling to maintain straight faces and continence. In the entire set, I heard one discernible lyric, no kidding. There is occasional falsetto because, you know, that’s in right now.
Then comes the best bit: a song featuring the triangle. It is, let’s face it, the instrument you give the utterly rubbish kid in primary school music class. The reason for this is that it takes a very special kind of talent to fuck it up. Needless to say, these guys manage it. The “instrument” is frequently mishit and sometimes even missed. It’s hilarious to watch and we finally give up trying not to laugh when he throws aside the beater (as Wikipedia tells me it’s called) in fury. He resorts instead to saying “Shup” into the microphone instead.
Eventually the set draws to a close, to decidedly scant applause. I feel that here, in this small upstairs room, we have crossed an event horizon. The point where indie music gained it’s own Spinal Tap. It’s all been headed that way for a little while, let’s face it. In this modern world where social media has effectively removed several billion layers of quality control, we may have brought this on ourselves. These guys are so laughably generic that it matters not one jot that I have not given you their name. One day soon they will undoubtedly feature in the new bands section of the music tabloids. Take a look, they could be there already...