From Melbourne via LA, Horse Stories' frontman Toby Burke stands alone, and sends his lovely voice soaring up into the Union Chapel's vaulted darkness. He's essentially a singer-songwriter dressed in country raiment, but it fits him well. His is an elegant melancholy; peals of electric guitar lapping against his songs like a mournful tide. You feel he deserves an orchestra.
Grand Drive's Julian and Danny Wilson were originally from Australia, but grew up in south London.
Tonight, Dave Alvin looks like a man out to settle an old score. With his gunslinger necktie and low-slung guitar, he fires off endless streams of ballistic invective, mostly aimed at Phil, his big barrel-shaped brother and Blasters frontman.
The fabled legend of Dave and Phil Alvin and the band they formed in Downey, California is straight out of the sibling rivalry rock'n'roll handbook that stretches from Don and Phil Everly all the way up to Noel and Liam Gallagher.
On the intro tape, Johnny Cash's austerely remorseless "The Man Comes Around" sets the mood, then Colin MacIntyre's men come pounding out of the traps. For this mini tour, the school choir, feather boa and inflatable sheep of previous expeditions have been packed away, in favour of frill-free punk aggression.