Friday, 27 November 2009

731 FOUNTAINS OF WAYNE, The Dykeenies, London Astoria, Monday 21 May 2007

The last gig before a baby-enforced absence of a couple of months, and after the last disappointing outing, I was looking for some vindication from the Wayne-meisters, despite an only average CD this year. How are the boys of Summer 1997, so dominant that year with that brilliant debut album, holding up ten years on?

Left straight from work and had an extraordinarily easy run down, parking up and tubing over to the venue for 7.45. Had time to take in how shabby it looks these days, before first band, the Dykeenies, started up. A young Scottish lot, they obviously grew up on a diet of Idlewild, judging by some frantic early numbers and stylised droney vocals, and despite sailing a little close to the New-rave fluorescent pop of, say, The Klaxons, they impressed with some good spikey tunes.

The place seemed only 1/2 full (touts were trying to shift tix outside for a quid!) but it suddenly filled up as the lights dimmed for the Wayne's 8.45 entrance. They kicked off with "I've Got A Flair" from that excellent first album, and were immediately in their stride with a splendid shiny set of their trademark wry, witty, harmonic, slightly cheesy but eminently catchy Byrds/ Big Star influenced pop. The new songs burst into life in the live environment as well, sounding tougher and brighter.

"People think we're from New Jersey but we're not; we're actually from Swindon!" Adam Schlesinger (amazingly) said, introducing the C'n'W-tinged "Hackensack", and this was countered by Chris Collingwood introducing "Mexican Wine" with, "this is about something I used to be very good at; drinking!" With Jody Porter, that well-renowned space cadet, making the most of his trademark pose ("The Leg!") the boys were in good fooling. A couple of lads were persuaded onstage for percussion duties during "Hey Julie", and following a muted reception for their cheesy pop hit "Stacey's Mom", the place went nuts for the brilliant "Radiation Vibe" and set closer "Survival Car".

Encores "Red Dragon Tattoo", "Sink To The Bottom" and a splendid "Bright Future In Sales" rounded off a lovely 1 1/4 hours entertainment, by which time Collingwood's voice was markedly raw. Worth the effort Chris! And worth the effort for me - despite a nightmare return tube journey via King's Cross, and car journey via Heathrow as the M4 was closed!

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