Saturday, December 17, 2011

Live Review: Little Comets, Northumbria University, 10/12/2011

It's a sad fact of life that no matter how great the band on stage is, a bad crowd always has the potential to spoil a show - something Little Comets found out at Northumbria University last Saturday. This should have been a great occasion, the homecoming of an excellent local act after a whirlwind twelve months, but sadly - inexplicably - it was almost completely ruined by a minority of those in attendance who completely killed the celebratory atmosphere before it even had the chance to rear it's head.

Let's be absolutely clear, the band were by no means at their best. Their performance was solid, but not quite of the standard they've set as one of indie pop's most exciting current live acts. It's easy to point to the loss of drummer Mark Harle as a reason for this, but his absence had little effect when I witnessed them smash Leeds Festival in August, so the reasons evidently lie far deeper than that. They didn't help themselves with their setlist; In Search Of Elusive Little Comets was an excellent debut album, and one of the best that the genre has had to offer all year, but they got the running order all wrong here, with a promising upbeat opening giving way to a succession of slower cuts mid-set, which saw them lose practically all of the momentum they'd previously built.

That, however, is no excuse for their treatment from some of the audience while on stage. Talking during a support band's set is disrespectful and irritating, but ultimately inevitable since they're usually unknown to those watching. Doing so once the headline act takes to the stage, though, is neigh on ridiculous. Why pay £10 to go and see a band, then proceed to turn your back and squawk about the injustices of your social life? Judging by the faces of those around me, I wasn't the only one who was completely baffled by this. There were three types of people present at this gig; the dedicated followers, who came to jump around, sing along and have a good time, the more restrained gig-goers who preferred to observe from a distance, and the air-headed morons who insisted on broadcasting their inner thoughts for all to hear right from the off. Despite being the minority, it was the latter who had the biggest effect on this show, so despite being somewhat off colour the band on stage appeared to be fighting a losing battle right from the start.

It was only in the latter stages when everyone in the room finally united in their love for the Little Comets, and it came as no coincidence that these moments were by far the most enjoyable of the night. In fairness, 'Joanna,' 'One Night In October' and 'Dancing Song' are some of the catchiest songs released by anyone in recent times, and so fully deserve to be greeted with such enthusiasm, but the fact that they were treated to such an ovation while other excellent numbers like 'Lost Time,' 'Darling Alistair' and 'Isles' were afforded complete indifference still left a bitter taste.

Perhaps they'd have been better off sticking one of the big guns in with those less direct cuts, truth be told even that probably wouldn't be enough to engage some of the fuck-wits they'd been tasked with entertaining. The band are set return to the same venue in a few months, so hopefully come then the brain dead minority will express themselves in a pub instead and leave the rest of us to celebrate one of the most vibrant and infectious young bands currently doing the circuit.

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