There’s a last minute change of plan as we realise that although we would quite like to see Neon Kicks at the Hope and Anchor, the two support bands look to be so irredeemably awful that the prospect is too grim to bear.
So instead we do a quick swerve down the road to the newly re-opened Upstairs at the Garage to check out what’s on there.
There is a cracking result right away, as the first band on are the always wonderful Me My Head, possibly still the best band in the country who are distressingly not mega huge. Seriously people, MMH should be entertaining the arm-waving masses at Glasto or Reading rather than tearing up this tiny venue.
If crowd-pleasing good tunes and engaging stage presence are not your bag, then look away now. They are a bit Blur, a bit Killers, a bit Kaiser Chiefs (stop looking down your nose) and a guaranteed good time. Check out their self-released album.
Next up are the black-clad ranks of retro punks Sharks, who channel the likes of Joe Strummer and are mean, moody and reasonably magnificent. They put in a strong, determined performance, undercut only slightly by the antics of their guitarist, who should perhaps just restrain himself from showing off to quite such a degree. Sharks are well worth your gig-dollar. They are young and hungry and totally self-aware. Watch them go.
Headliners are Haunts, a band that I have not previously happened across, and which is rather to my shame. Wiry, brutal rock with all the anger and structure of Future of the Left, but without all the pantomime crowd-baiting nonsense that accompanies that band.
Haunts are louder than bombs, tighter than an owl and happy to make your teeth rattle. The crowd is too cool for school, but they are LOVING this.
Grand stuff for around a fiver. All these bands are excellent in their different ways. Treat yourself.