Sunday 30 October 2011

Tribes, Dog Is Dead, The Supernovas at Electric Ballroom - 28 October 2011

Tribes (Photo from Alfie)

When we arrive at the Electric Ballroom, the first band are already well into their set. It’s clear that the promoters want to get the whole evening done and dusted early, so that they can run a club night afterwards.

The Supernovas are young, cocky and as smart as a pistol. Literally- they spend quite a lot of time with their guitars to their shoulders like machine guns pretending to mow us down. They’re big of mouth and massively self-confident.

Rightly so, because they sound like a non-sensitive version of Ash, the songs being crisp and punchy and with big choruses. None more so than set closer ‘Dusty Air’, which I initially mishear as a tribute to the legendary Leicester and England rugby player.

If Connor McNicholas was still running the NME, The Supernovas would be all over it. Make of that what you will.

Dog Is Dead are this week’s contender for the band with the worst name in pop music. However, their silly nomenclature should not detract from their music, which is excellent.

The signature style of this five piece band is that they often sing in harmony, a rich Beach Boys effect that is enough to win over the hardest heart.

The young crowd love them and sigh and sway along with the music. The band are as sensitive as the Supernovas were brash. Both approaches are finding favour here tonight.

Tribes are local lads and this big hometown gig is a statement of intent. The crowd may be predisposed to like them, but on this showing, the band are going to draw big crowds up and down the country.

Flanked by flashing strobes, the band are adept at hitting the balance between sensitivity and bombast. Lots of arms are raised in the audience, and everyone seems to know the words. It’s an undeniably impressive spectacle.

The recent single ‘Sappho’ is dispensed with early, and may be the catchiest song about lesbian love triangles on record. Majestic stuff.

The set progresses and they even safely negotiate the dreaded acoustic guitar interlude that many rock bands have foundered upon in the past.

Tribes are aptly named, many of their songs are about banding together, about belonging. It’s a trick that Suede often used, and it breeds loyalty amongst the fan base. So we get ‘Coming of Age’ and ‘We Were Children’, the latter featuring a rallying call to kids “born in the mid-90’s”.

I sing along too. I know no shame.

The gig ends nice and early and everyone has had a grand time. All three bands have been good to excellent and make me feel that UK guitar pop is in a pretty healthy state.

The club night afterwards is called “I Love the 90’s”. Sounds that tonight’s bands must have heard in the cradle. Blimey.

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