Wednesday, 16 December 2009

685 AMERICAN HI-FI, Johnny Panic, London Garage, Tuesday 25 October 2005

Fourth of 4 gigs in 7 days, and possibly the last of 9 in October. Not bad for an old (25 days old!) married couple - however we sleep for the rest of the month! This time we were joined by Tim and Penny for the Hi-Fi's sole headliner before their own rest period, following a hectic tour supporting Bowling For Soup. Left just after 6, parking up in Highbury at 8.15.

Joined an unexpected queue to get in - discovered they were "carding" people, and a number of ticketholders without ID had been refused entry. No such problems for us oldies, and we hit the venue while the horribly clumsy and out-of-key nu-metal first support were on.

A busy evening here tonight, busier than anticipated, but still the Hi-Fi braved the throng! Said hey to Drew, who was taking a quick turn behind the merch stand, then spoke at greater length to a slightly frazzled Jamie, a bullish Jason and an upbeat Stacy, who informed me he was nicking my idea of wearing a Cheap Trick t-shirt tonight with the line, "great minds think alike," and was the subject of some teeny adulation from a couple of girlies. Johnny Panic, onstage during this time, were a better prospect than the first band, but still innocuous nu-punk noise.

We later saw Stacy prowling around the venue holding the set-lists, just minutes before they were due onstage. No elaborate pre-gig rituals for the Hi-Fi, then! This of course is the crux of American Hi-Fi - no fuss, no nonsense, just good honest power-poppy rock'n'roll. They burst on, exactly on time at 10, strapped on, plugged in and just played, and once again totally rocked the joint!

"Thanks for coming along to the rock show," introduced Jamie before a thrashy yet thrilling "Break-Up Song". The early set whipped by in a frenzy as the Hi-Fi, tired yet determined to rock, played a ragged, occasionally messy yet exciting set. Whereas "Hi-Fi Killer" sounded disjointed, "Another Perfect Day" was perfectly executed, and an impromptu "Radio Radio", the old Elvis Costello number, was splendidly loose, Drew taking a lead verse and managing to sound just like Costello!

I joined the mosh toward the end, where somehow the Hi-Fi made much more sense. A brilliant "Wall Of Sound" closer, another Jamie-supplied set-list and a quick drive home ensued. Tired, ragged and raw, yet still brilliantly rocking from American Hi-Fi!

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