The Holloways / The Locals - 53 Degrees Preston - 11.5.08

Blackpool lads The Locals look like a bunch of extras from Shameless let loose on a a stage. Unsophisticated lyrics about women, drink and more drink litter their songs which are uncouth, witless and crude. They even dare to rhyme tits with hypocrite. Thankfully the guitarist and drummer have the good sense to play with a professional flair as the singer shouts like a football hooligan. There are moments of punky thrashy in your face rock but all too often a sub Alex Turner vocal drowned out by the guitars is all arrogance without melody. The only highlight is a brooding ballad with a heart of darkness with a gutsy riff and an audible credible vocal.

The Holloways creep on unnoticed without any intro music or major fanfare. Despite a disappointing turnout (the venue is barely half full) The Holloways create an exclusive party atmosphere. Lead singer and the thinking woman's indie heart throb Alfie is as ever wearing his trademark hat. Its nigh on impossible not to warm to Alfie and the Holloways. The three part harmonies and quirky sung songs have a cheeky chappie cockney charm and musically there's plenty of variety in their set. A touch of ska to the ode of television joy in "Where's My Control" while the raw visceral "Happiness and Penniless" takes a leaf out of the genre known as rockabilly. Alfie talks about the perils of getting smashed on stage at last nights gig in Sheffield and lampoons The Locals guitarist for his tendency to swipe beer belonging to amongst others the late great Milburn.

New song "Cool Down" about the increase of knife crime and muggings is perfect summery pop albeit with a serious social message. "Sinners and Winners" another unreleased track shows real camaraderie and kinship within the band.

Unsurprisingly the biggest response from the crowd comes from the Holloways hit single "Generator" which has the other support act of the night Frank Turner offering spirited backing vocals. What this gig has been lacking so far is an appearance from the fiddle, an instrument that's a vital ingredient to the bands sound. Thankfully it comes out during the song "2 Left Feet" which give its a folky, rootsy vibe which certainly puts the crowd in a frantic dancing frenzy.

Finishing on the old live favourite "Good Night Irene" before wishing the inhabitants of Preston a good night. The Holloways also promise some new songs available soon as a free download as record company complications mean their next album wont be available for quite a while

Nicholas Paul Godkin

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