At this early stage of the year every second gig seems to be an "Introducing", "Next Big Thing", or "Radar" show, with anyone who's anyone giving their two cents on who's going stratospheric in the coming months. Last night's show was no different - the chosen few coming in the shape of cheeky Northern chappies Little Comets, Mercury Records' new recruits Goldhawks, and Brighton's synth-bumming Mirrors.
Highly-fancied Mirrors seem to be popping up at a number of these events - the NME shindig I reviewed last month being an example. Last night's performance was fairly similar, although I struggled to ascertain whether the addition of dodgier moves by front-man James could be attributable to further nervousness or confidence... Said moves were temporarily sidelined for a bout of eye-fucking with an attractive blonde girl in the front row - the AAA pass on her jeans later that night suggesting that his crooning advances may just have worked. Lad. Into The Heart was again the standout track from their set, which seemingly failed to win over too many of those present.
Goldhawks tread an extremely fine line between the rock'n'roll swagger of Kings Of Leon or Bruce Springsteen, and the cheesy, overly-obvious, radio-tailored dribblings of, dare I say it, The Calling. Opener 1996 certainly falls under the former category - chunky, distorted power-chords screaming at the currently placid crowd to wake the fuck up and pay attention. The rest of the set is a bit of mixed bag really - the band dipping their toes in both the trilling and the dull, while they must be given credit for their no-frills approach to both their appearance and sound, as well as the brilliantly worked twin vocals of front-man Bobby and keyboard maestro Nick. You get the feeling this band will inevitably be big - the decision of whether they maintain a level of credibility while doing so is entirely in their hands.
Not even the nagging of the night's curator, XFM DJ John Kennedy, was needed to get the crowd surging forward stage-side upon entrance of the evening's headliners, Little Comets. A washing line of instruments from Shakers to Tambourine's above the heads of the band were indicative of their Newcastle-via-Africa, World-influenced Indie Pop, and was a great addition to the already vibrant appearance of the band - drummer Mark's ridiculous yet brilliant woolen hat and vocalist Robert's granddad-chic knitted jumper being prime examples. 'Mickey's my personal stylist and he insisted' being Rob's excuse. Their performance more than matches their look - and the set contains a perfect balance of captivating slower moments as well as mental, pulse-racing numbers. Instrumentally the band are extremely strong with guitars working fantastically both individually and in tandem, bassist Matt dropping some gigantic lines, while Mark nails the task of laying our beats that are contagiously danceable, but also varied and interesting at all times. The crowd clearly feed off their energy with banterous exchanges taking place the whole way through the set.
"This one goes out to Paul"
"Who the hell are are you?...is your name even Paul?"
As the set finally draws to a close and I file out amongst the sweaty and chants of 'wa oohh, this one's for dancing', I struggle to think of a show in the past several months at least that I've enjoyed nearly as much as this.