Judging a book by its cover, or more specifically a tour by its name, I am anticipating that the ‘Relentless No Half Measures Tour’ will be a night of exciting, passionate and possibly raucous music. Oh, how I wish I were right…
The night starts off promisingly with up-and-coming New-Yorksters, Bear Hands, whose highly polished set of dark, melodic indie with a hint of punk-rock is sadly lost on the gaggle of underage girls who make up the majority of the audience (obviously awaiting headliners The Holloways). Building up a rich wall of textures with a combination of tight, angular rhythm guitar and ambient, delay-soaked lead guitar lines – Bear Hands, though first on stage, prove to be a really classy act and are well worth checking out.
Following on from them are the baby-faced teenagers who call themselves Regards. The band impress with their accomplished musicianship and ability to create layered yet simple sounding tunes, but give the crowd only a half measure of passion, and a mere dash of originality. Promising, but some way to go.
Strolling onto stage soon after, London-based four piece Haunts show the young pretenders how it’s done. This act is as tight musically as Regards, but also brings a sense of excitement to proceedings. Indeed, they are so infectious that – shock horror! – some of the crowd actually dance along to the band’s very catchy indie with a rock sensibility.
Next up are Underground Heroes. The quartet show moments of musical genius, but these glimpses are far too rare, and are pushed aside by the downright shambles that is their set. Too many of Underground Heroes’ songs have no clear direction – lurching from ska-inflected intros, to quirky indie verses, to wannabe rock-star choruses. If this band actually forged a consistent sound for themselves and sorted out the immensely annoying vocals then they might actually be quite good.
As headliners The Holloways amble onto stage, I make a little silent prayer that this group of indie-lite waifs will re-inject some energy into Concorde2 and justify their place on the ‘No Half Measures Tour’. Are my prayers answered? In a word: no.
The band plays a perfectly competent hour-long set of dance-along indie-pop ditties which pleases the already-converted fans down the front no end. Obviously, Radio 1 favourite ‘Generator’ gets the best response of the night, and I take my serious hat off for long enough to have a bit of a mindless boogie along.
But The Holloways do very little to convert myself and the other undecideds on the periphery of the venue, and the live element adds nothing thrilling or new to their songs.
As I leave Concorde2 sipping my free can of Relentless, I can’t help feeling that if I’d have paid twelve quid to go to the gig tonight, I’d want my money back.