Late Of The Pier
The Displacements, A Place To Bury Strangers, and Collapsing CitiesEdit this event
Why does hype so often supersede talent? And at what point will people stop listening to said hype and listen instead to what they're actually hearing? Tonight is an interesting experiment in human nature - and just how much bullshit we're happy to believe. It’s a gig that, by its end, forces any objective observer to ask exactly those two questions, as two of the most hotly tipped bands du jour head up this crammed Levi's Ones To Watch showcase.
Always one to pull a crowd, the LOTW nights brings together four new bands, this time in the dark, crammed shoebox of the Camden Barfly. Of course, the stage upstairs isn’t packed from the very beginning – there’s important drinking to be down first in the bar below. Which is a shame for New Zealand’s Collapsing Cities, whose slightly quirky, poppy post-punk (post-pop-punk, anyone?) deserves a bigger audience than the one they have. Still, they’re spending a lot of time in the UK over the next few months, so there’re plenty of opportunities to see them.
Leicester youngsters* The Displacements* – whose average age is about three - are a tight and enjoyable trip back through English musical heritage (with the occasional American group thrown in). Their jangly indie-pop is rooted in a very English past – think bowler hats, waistcoats and canes – and they pull it off with both style and confidence. They may need a couple more years to properly grow, develop and find their own, truly unique sound, but it’s quite possible these guys will grow into something very exciting.
Brooklyn’s A Place To Bury Strangers have had a few more years to do to that – and it’s worked. They're everywhere at the moment – on the screen of every blogger while simultaneously strewn across the pages of the mainstream press – and it shows. The Barfly is packed out for their set. Serious and introspective yet infused with a noisy belligerence, they make one hell of a racket, filling the room with a buzzsaw feedback and a robotic, Ian Curtis-inspired sense of doom and gloom. And they’re good. Perhaps not as amazing as everyone seems to be proclaiming, but they’re worthy – if not of the hype, then certainly of the attention.
Late Of The Pier, on the other hand, are nothing more than a badly told, unfunny joke. Bands like The Darkness and Goldie Lookin’ Chain – and, for that matter, the whole nu-rave phenomenon – should really have proved that there’s little place in music for post-modern, self-aware irony, but this seems to have escaped the notice of this four-piece. They come from Nottingham, but may as well be from Shoreditch. For a start, they look fucking ridiculous in that kitsch, American Apparel, metallic-neon-nylon way, which would be almost forgivable if their music was any good. It’s not. It’s the biggest pile of wank since Does It Offend You, Yeah? emerged with their delusions of talent – soulless, emotionless, synth-led drivel devoid of any merit whatsoever and which says nothing interesting, does nothing new and, live, is embarrassing at best. Yet – of course – they’re signed to major label and they’re surrounded by hype which, judging by the reaction of those here, people are buying into. Which raises those questions at the very top of this page. And there are no good answers.
It’s a shame, because there were three bands with genuine talent – albeit of slightly varying degrees – who were worthy of the titular Ones To Watch tag. Late Of The Pier, however, didn’t deserve to be in the same room as any of them, let alone lead the procession.
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