When you have recieved the seal of approval from the mighty Mozalini, it will either be a cross to bear or something to build on.The arrival of The Boyfriends to the capital tonight in what I believe is their first Scottish date, allows us to judge for ourselves.
But not before proceedings are opened by local favourites The Rushes. Sadly the assembled throng which would gather later on for the headliners are missing as they take to the stage. Looking somewhat sheepish they launch in to their anthemic angular numbers which, although sounding reminiscent of a lot other bands, still strike the right chords with second track ‘`Take Your Shoes Off’ as good as anything you’ll hear by a lot of the current chart bothering indie bands, with guitarist Craig pulling out guitar parts that belong on a much bigger stage than tonight’s. The set also includes their single ‘`Hours’ which was released as a split 7’` on the I Fly Spitfires label, a cracking song which I remember hearing it the last time I saw the band at the launch night of said single. It really stood out then and still does, though sadly the crowd are not as respondent as the band are used to and I think that affects their performance as the set starts to fade a little, but I have seen enough to want to come back for more.
So to The Boyfriends then, who arrive onstage to little fanfare and launch straight into their much vaunted Smiths-a-like offerings. According to myth, Morrissey visited a small club in Soho where they were playing a gig but only managed to see two songs before he was spotted and mobbed. However, he saw enough to offer them a support slot on his European tour, a leg up in the industry if ever there was one! Tonight they play a set to a crowd whose familiarity with their songs could only really extend to the three available on their Myspace page. ‘`Adult Acne’ , a former NME single of the week, is without a doubt their strongest song but the lack of exposure it has recieved fails to create the sort of atmosphere it deserves. The band themselves look a curious bunch, singer Martin Wallace resembling a football hooligan dressed up as Pee Wee Herman, resplendent in a short-sleeved white shirt, red bow tie and white bowling shoes while the bass player could be the lost member of The Bravery or any number of 80’s goth bands. It is clear that The Smiths are a massive influence though; quite simply this band would not exist without them and on ‘`No Tomorrow’ it is starkly evident, with Martin Wallace aping Mozzas movements and mannerisms, even the positioning of the mike lead over the shoulder and the tongue-in-cheek inbetween verses, it’s all there. For all that they are influenced by arguably the greatest band ever, I can’t help but think sometimes while watching them that they seem like a tribute band who have stopped midway through a set to play their own material; howeve,r on reflection I believe that to be quite a damning suggestion so I will reserve judgement until I hear them on record. At this moment in time it would seem that the Moz approval is a bit of a burden in that it has given them a hell of a lot to live up to – time will tell if these Boyfriends will enjoy a lengthy relationship with us.