Finally making it onto the Carling Weekend: Reading Festival site, we ran and caught two new(ish) groups, The Horrors and The Enemy. Despite both being bigged up by the NME, the groups share little in common and have slagged each other off in the press. A fan standoff awaits?
Uh, no, unfortunately not. There were a few more big-haired, kohl-clad punters for The Horrors and a few more tracksuited scallies for The Enemy, but the NME/Radio 1 Tent harmony was retained.
The Horrors performed a selection of tracks from their debut, ‘Strange House’, including ‘Draw Japan’, ‘Count In Fives’ and their “international superhit” (according to singer Faris) ‘Sheena Is A Parasite’, dressed in black t-shirts rather than their customary selection of jackets and waistcoats – it is hot out here, you know…
It’s a shame The Horrors are such an image-conscious band, because it probably puts a lot of people off them – there’s a lot to love about them. During closer ‘Gloves’ they prove themselves to be a great, uncompromising, rock and roll band, taking the twenty second middle eight into a twisted freak out, guitarist Joshua Third and organist Spider Webb layering white noise upon white noise. It’s The Jesus And Mary Chain meets The Birthday Party meets The Stooges. All too swiftly, it’s over.
Perhaps for contrast, The Enemy, who’ve just pulled out of Leeds to support The Rolling Stones on Sunday, are zipped up in bright white tracksuits, and they draw a much larger crowd than The Horrors – by the end, people are queueing out of the tent to get a look in.
Unsurprisingly for a band with a number one album under their belt, the crowd are singing along to every line of The Enemy‘s songs, hands in the air like they, ahem, just can’t care enough about this band.
As much as the audience enjoy it, we just can’t get into it. They’re obviously indebted to The Jam, but they take out Weller‘s subtleties and replace them with hollow and simplistic sloganeering. The title track of their record ‘We’ll Live And Die In These Towns’ even seems to mash up ‘That’s Entertainment’ and ‘Going Underground’.
“We’ll see you this time next year,” shouts Tom Clarke at the end, “on the main stage.”
Alright mate, chill out. He’s probably right, though.
Words: Tom Pinnock