The Mandigans - Victoria Inn On The Park (London) - 20.7.08

After what was reported to be a chaotic debut, with a turn out of 400 that resulted in a broken barrier, this next gig at the Royal Inn on Victoria Park, London was certainly what you would call a quiet, intimate gig for the Mandigans. I entered the pub expecting to find six arrogant hotshots in the middle of it all, getting worked up for their shortcoming set. Instead I found, in the corner of the beer garden, six average kids looking as though they had come to watch the show rather than play it. It turns out that average would not be the word to describe this band however, more so the phrase: down to earth. Unlike so many young bands I have come across, instead of claiming that they write songs that people can live to or revive the great genres, their music is simply about “girls, girls, girls”, as lead singer, Tom Andrews, tells me. Even ‘Do As You’re Told’, a song that sends out a message to a certain “loner” that the band know, “soon turns into a song about a girl”, drummer, George Flint, says. What else should a group of adolescents be writing about? Apart from making the statement, “We are our own sound”, the Mandigans show no intention of trying to be better than they are capable of being as a band, and it will be exciting to see the progress they have made in a few years. In the mean time, the moment had come to see how they would cope outside their comfort zone, or as Tom puts it before they go onstage, “To say we’re out of our comfort zone is a bit of an understatement”.

As performers they certainly do not play like an average kids’ band. Putting aside the problems of one technical screw up and the lack of a set list, resulting in them discussing what to play after two songs, the Mandigans kept it together as a unit, never once falling out of time or showing any signs of struggle. Their music sounds like the catchy indie pop songs that you will strife to keep off your mind, but unlike Scouting For Girls, I never felt the need the bottle them to make the music stop. It was actually good, simple, enjoyable music that you would not feel ashamed to dance or sing to. Anybody who bought into the ‘Razorlight copying the Libertines’ conspiracy (just because their album titles are similar, doesn’t make it a rip off) will be put off by the fact that they have two songs called ‘In The Morning’ and ‘Helicopter’. Thankfully though, they sound nothing like and contain no references to Razorlight, the Coral or Bloc Party, and they happen to be the songs most worth listening to. This gig may not have been as phenomenal as the first was described to be, but that can only be expected as the Mandigans came halfway across the country to a quiet pub that didn’t seem to be expecting them. They were most impressive for their age and experience, and have a great chance of going far.

Will Slater

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