Gig review gig reviews (Scottish) short players (Scottish)


Imagine if The Smiths were a happy bunch. Impossible, you say? If your eyes and mouths were as wide open as Sergeant’s last night, you would have sampled what it might have looked like.

The sound of this bleak provincial 80s band influenced The Kooks, The Enemy and The Arctic Monkeys, who have done for Brighton, Coventry and Sheffield what The Smiths once did for Manchester. The buzz is that Sergeant are set to put Fife on the music map.

Our current climate is an opportunity for beatnik crews to rant about social inequality and the price of a fish supper whilst playing a jingle-jangle tune. Yet, four lads uniformed in jeans, Fred Perry shirts and plimsoles say otherwise. They’ve cracked it. Let’s keep the ’80s jingle-jangle and forget about all the rest. Music is for fun.

In the Liquid Room, the Festival mob awaits the NME’s latest hot tip. Whether it’s the Edinburgh Festival vibe or the scenesters’ hunger for discovering new talent, this feels special from the offset. Upon opening, cherub-faced lead, Nick Mercer, transforms into a bottomless can of energy. His interaction generates a sense of togetherness as he kneels before his fans and shares his appreciation. A responsive audience wave their hands from the get-go and grow with excitement. I imagine Mercer would like to think himself the catalyst as he nods approvingly at the emergent mosh pit below. However, it has more to do with enthusiasm and pride for local success. Sergeant is our band.

Despite the bassist’s overgrown facial forest, the group appear as cheeky school truants with energy to match. The lead’s cute swagger immediately fades when concern turns to remoulding his coif between tracks. As he sips his beer I begin to question whether he’s old enough. Nevertheless, this is a mature outfit; totally comfortable, hard working and well rehearsed.

The pop recipe of dancing drums, light lyrics, catchy riffs and local vocal ensures that the crowd come well-rehearsed too. By the end of the set, school is definitely out for summer. It certainly feels temperate and not just because the sweat is dripping off the walls. This is what jolly young bands should be about. Heaven knows I’m spirited now.