Electric Soft Parade / Hoggboy - Manchester Hop & Grape - 26.2.02

No matter how worthy or earnest the so called Nu Acoustic movement is, you have to admit that it doesn't grab you by the throat, throttle you and refuse to let you go. For this you need danger, excitement and unpredictability. Hoggboy fit this description perfectly. The Sheffield rockers dish out sleazy, dirty riffs, aggressive vocals coming across cool and detached. Led by Tom Hogg (hence the name), their first single was produced by ex-Longpigs guitarist and solo artist Richard Hawley.

Dark and mysterious, all sporting black leather and sounding like the meanest gang in town. Granted the actual music isn't that impressive, but the way they play like their life's depended on it shows guts and determination. We need bands like Hoggboy. They've got a rock n roll attitude, that's for sure, and a real sense of anarchy not seen since the early days of the Manic Street Preachers.

Originally called The Soft Parade but with a Doors tributes band having the same name it was a case of either change your name or face legal action. So they are known as The Electric Soft Parade. Like the Gallaghers and McNamaras, the ESP are a British indie band led by tow brothers. Alex and Tom White have had a lot of critical acclaim since they began and have had a lot of music journalists literally frothing at the mouth in anticipation of proclaiming that they are the best new band in Britain. This is a weary and lethargic gig. The band look bored and have no charisma, stage presence or personality. To paraphrase the Stereophonic's "I've seen more life in a tramps vest".

When the best song played in the whole set is a cover of Kylie's "Can't Get You Out OF My Head" you really know their own material is a bit on the weak side. Their recent single "There's A Silence" is promising but is no classic. The album "Holes In The Wall" is played almost in its entirety, but what sounds alright listened to on a walkman in your bedroom doesn't always work when played live like tonight aptly illustrates.  Before the encore they play a song which goes on for an eternity. The band ham together well but this is ridiculously over long, a pretentious over worthy exercise in self indulgent muso workmanship. The Electric Soft Parade have a few good tunes but no identity and certainly very little originality.

Nicholas Paul Godkin

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