The Bandits - The Mill @ Preston - 15.10.03

Not to be confused with BMX Bandits or even Bandit Queen, The Bandits are the latest in a long line of groups from Liverpool who have surfed a crest of a wave recently like the Zutons, The Crescent, The Hokum Clones and The Basement. The Bandits also run the Bandwagon night at the Zanzibar, an establishment that has been frequented by Noel Gallagher and hosted early gigs by the likes of The Coral and The Stands. The band are a raggle taggle bunch of scally musicians with some of the worst haircuts i've seen since the last Brookside omnibus. The keyboard player resembles Zac Dingle, the bass player is the spitting image of Robin Askwith and the less said about the Jerry Sadowitz lookie likey on acoustic guitar the better. Trinny and Susannah would have their work cut out for them. And Yes before you say it - I know appearances aren't everything, but when the music is this predictable, turgid and tired you'd think they'd make an effort on something.

The Bandits play like they just can't be bothered. They're just going through the motions. It's indie rock spliced with 60s psychedelia with mexican influences interspersed (a far cry from the sea shanty shenanigans of The Coral). The vocal is indecipherable, the acoustic guitarist so high that he appears to be on another planet. The fans seem to lap it up while I fail to find their enthusiasm as infectious. Previous single "Take It And Run" isn't bad and tracks off their album sound punchier and more immediate live and to their credit the lead guitarist (the shy quiet one) is exceptional and there are moments of excitement amongst the less memorable songs, but the fact that I keep looking at my watch every five minutes as my interest wanes isn't really a good sign. Maybe I caught them on a bad night or the poor sound quality clouded my judgement, but solely on tonight's performance The Bandits left me cold. Granted I do believe they have promise and with a spark of originality, a splash of charisma, a few decent tunes in their repertoire and who knows, when they become a tight little unit, The Bandits may pass the coral down the corridors of Top Of The Pops studios. It could happen but not for a long time.

Nicholas Paul Godkin

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