Kasabian mix guitars, electro-beats and attitude; those are the good points. The bad one is that their references hang off their sleeves like piranhas off an Amazon swimmer. Think Super Furry Animals, Stone Roses, Primal Scream and DJ Shadow, conjure up someone with Bobby Gillespie’s dancing skills and Liam Gallagher’s attitude (“this is our new fookin’ single. Go out and fookin’ buy it!”) and you’ve got the band. Great taste in music maybe, and I’ll take them over the Cooper Temple Clause and the Music any day, but there’s too much sense of déjà vu right now.
The Von Bondies have beautiful hair. And skin. And teeth. Their stylists have designed them so that 14 year old boys and girls will be inspired by their appearance on CD:UK to go and wear t-shirt and jeans with attitude. But was that worth leaving Detroit for? ‘C’mon C’mon’ is one of the singles of the year and it’s a highlight of their set , as is ‘Tell Me What You See’ (though it’s gained a sheen that wasn’t there in the original classic 7” Must Destroy single). ‘Been Swank’ has a louche swagger and ‘No Regrets’ is a big 50s rumble. But since joining Sire they’ve become highly polished and it shows. There’s a lot of garage-lite smooth filler, with the horrible ‘Mairead’ the worst offender. And when did the VB’s become the Jason Stollsheimer show? I remember when the Von Bondies were a band but here it’s all built around the man and his guitar riffs. Carrie at least gets to sing ‘Not that Social’ but Marcie is strictly rhythm guitarist. Only Don stands out as a rock’n’roller, drumming up a storm and wearing the coolest Rogers Sisters t-shirt.
For all Jason’s emoting, he’s not Otis Redding. He has a shtick in the encore where he asks the audience to tell him his favourite four letter word. “No, that’s my second favourite word” he smirks, before revealing it’s ‘love’ and going off into a bluesy love song. It’s impressive but slick, rehearsed rather than real. And that’s probably true of everything they do now. Meanwhile the closing number ‘It Came From Japan’ reminded us what they’ve given up. Maybe the very young crowd who follow them now don’t care but anyone who remembers their Sympathy For The Record Industry days will be urging them to sack the stylists, make their peace and get back to Detroit before it’s too late.