As East London welcomes Community, a three day multi-venue sprint through some of the new acts mooted to take over everything in 2016, Hoxton Square Bar & Kitchen is already a band down, with Pretty Vicious having pulled out due to illness. With everyone else surviving intact, a couple of games of ”Spot the A&R” are all you need to pass the extra time before the night really begins.
Anteros singer Laura Hayden takes to the stage in a jacket with “Call Your Mother” emblazoned on the back. It’s not just great life advice, it also forms part of ‘Twisted 21’’s chorus, the point of the trio’s set where they move from slightly mannered but enjoyable indie-pop into a powerhouse final third, which sounds like nothing less than a bunch of great lost Blondie demos.
With Hayden’s Kate Moss-meets-Chrissie Hynde insouciant cool taking care of the stage presence, they just need to get a few more songs like their last few and they’ll be flying as high as their namesake. (7/10)
Zibra, meanwhile, have been busy trying to mine the same seam of industrial-meets 80’s pop that served The 1975 so well on their debut. ‘R.I.P.’ and ‘Great White Shark’ are suitably OTT, and as they reveal their disdain for the French capital (and cities in general) in ‘Paris’, it doesn’t stop them from winning some new admirers in London. (7)
There’s been plenty of Jamie T comparisons thrown Rat Boy’s way since his emergence last year, which haven’t always been welcomed, but as Jordan Cardy, resplendent in a white Supreme “Child Of Hell” hat, starts up ‘Stick Up Kids’, it’s not difficult to see why he’s had them.
It’s a set packed with rapid-fire tales of drunken misadventures and being broke, with Cardy’s band wiring hip-hop and ska-infused indie-punk around his stroppy commentary, with the insistent ‘Wasteman’ recommending “Never never knock on our door” as breakbeats, organs and Northern Soul samples stagger around. Right now, it’s a B-Side, but it’s another verse away from being a killer single somewhere down the line.
Not everything is as indebted to Wimbledon’s favourite badman as some would have you believe - ‘Hanging Around’ goes into march time as it laments “waiting for the bus that never came”, while ‘Left 4 Dead’ is essentially ‘From The Ritz To The Rubble’ crossed with ‘Forgot About Dre’.
In the end, Rat Boy (8) is merely taking the baton up – with ‘Carry On The Grudge’ seeing Jamie T move in a considered direction, Cardy has moved in on his old territory, capturing the ears of those who can see their future’s not looking too rosy. The circle pit that starts up as a loping ‘Sign On’ contemplates the bleakness of the Job Centre is a testament to that – you can’t get this kind of following on a entertainingly snarky Twitter feed alone.
Tonight ends with a blistering, bleary-eyed ‘Fake ID’ – where being denied entry to the club starts a chain of events that gets you your wallet nicked and suffering the embarrassment of having a phone that’s too crap to steal. As a sweaty crowd begin to file out, tonight’s made clear that this is basically ‘Panic Prevention’ for the Snapchat generation, and that’s not a bad thing at all.