NME Rock'n'Roll Riot Tour - London Astoria - 15.10.06

Despite the Horrors’ wannabe onstage recklessness of tossing themselves about like rag dolls, shouting bull crap into the microphone and use of an organ from a 1950s alien film, in yellow strobe lighting all the way through, followed by the Dykeenies: One of those ‘fold your arms and tap your feet’ bands (thank you very fucking much NME) the Rock ‘n’ Roll Riot Tour at the Astoria was a great night thanks to two outstanding groups: the Maccabees and the Fratellis.

Once the Maccabees walked on I knew that having seen them twice before, everyone would snap out of their stand-still states to welcome five of the most beloved people in London. It was more than a welcome, they had a heroes’ reception, cheers galore for these guys who haven’t even been on the front cover of NME. They kicked off their set with ‘About Your Dress’ as always and it was as if they were actually talking to us, seeming as they had most likely met half the audience before. Felix, the guitarist who had definitely met my three friends and me before, looked and grinned at us all the way through and I noticed the same thing going on between other members of the band and certain people in the crowd. That always adds warmth to their gigs. Later came my favourite, ‘Precious Time’, I can’t quite tell exactly what it is, but there is something so special about this song, especially live, when you are one with the crowd chanting the chorus and knowing when to clap your hands even when there is no beat or signal to do so from the band or the song. The Maccabees finished on ‘Lego’ and left me in a fusion of happiness and intense fatigue.

Even with a view from retreating to the back, it still felt as though the Fratellis were up close to me, as I felt the urge to dance for ‘Henrietta’ and ‘Chelsea Dagger’ and sway myself side to side for ‘Whistle For The Choir’. Better still; when they finished their set and the audience howled and stomped for an encore, Jon Fratelli came back out to play ‘Stacie Anne’ and was eventually joined by the rest of the band to cover Goldfrapp’s ‘Ooh La La’.

Yes, cancel out the two bands that were only there solely because of the NME, it was indeed a spectacular gig. It was first time I had seen the Maccabees somewhere big and an opportunity to get a better view of the Fratellis than just the last five songs of their set at the Reading Festival.

Will Slater

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