Alas we’re not under the famous dome tonight, but the basement of the Oran Mor is still a pleasant place to spend a rainy Wednesday evening. Warming up the crowd tonight are Otley indie rockers The Chevin, whose denim-clad frontman Coyle Girelli prowls the stage like Johnny Borrell from Razorlight leaving his bandmates to switch between keyboards, guitar and bass as they hammer out tracks from their recent debut album Borderland. Serviceable but unlikely to astound, as on record they remain the bastard scion of British rock in the 2000’s. At least with ‘Drive’ they channel some of U2’s widescreen sentimentality into a standout anthem, and when the others chip in on backing vocals songs like ‘Champion’ gain an extra degree of heft to propel them towards the finish line. The crowd is far from a sellout but the lengthy queue snaking away from the merch stand after their short set indicates that The Chevin haven’t done themselves any harm here tonight.
Though they’re one of the biggest selling acts of the decade in their native South Africa, The Parlotones are very much a fringe concern in Britain. Luckily they have a secret weapon up their sleeves in the form of frontman Kahn Morbee. Sure, his facial tattoos make him look like a miserable Billy Corgan but he’s an exciting presence onstage; ducking, weaving and generally making sure that he’s the centre of attention. As the band open with the thumping synth-rock of ‘Should We Fight Back?’ and ‘Life Design’ the few hardcore fans at the front bounce enthusiastically before an emotional ‘Disappear Without A Trace’. Unfortunately, in the second half Morbee busts out his acoustic guitar and the sugar content rises dramatically. The nostalgic lyrics to ‘Remember When’ are trite in the extreme and the cloying ‘You Are All Beautiful’ is as saccharine as its title suggests, but for catchy and optimistic songs they’re at least on a par with Coldplay. The main criminal tonight however is the 10pm curfew, forcing the band off with too few of the fan favourites demanded from the front. Instead we’re left with a minimal closer in the form of ‘Baby Be Mine’ and a sense that The Parlotones need to push themselves out of their comfort zone a bit more often.