Army Of Freshmen, MC Lars, Wheatus

Bruce Turnbull 10/05/2007

Despite having released three full lengths, American pop-punk outfit Army of Freshmen have not exactly set the UK afire with their synth-led, melodic delivery. Newbie “Under The Rader”, however, has received enough good press for the Californians to be granted another trek of the UK, this time with whiny one hit wonders Wheatus and the venerable MC Lars. Arriving at the Carling Academy with perhaps a little too much Budweiser under my belt, I came to expect a crowd of angry nine year olds with stripy sweaters and bad hair. I was right. I've reviewed a lot of shows for bands I wouldn't touch if they were made of lady-flavoured ice cream, but Christ did I feel out of place. What's a metaller to do?

As it happens Army of Freshmen played a blistering set that actually made me realise how decent this stuff can be. When played right, this sort of music can be incredibly enjoyable, and thankfully, the boys from across the pond played it better than anyone I've seen in a long time. Kicking things into gear with the fabulous “Uniforms”, the band were in good shape with vocalist Chris Jay preaching to their coterie of fans whilst ripping up the limited stage area. Double keyboarders Owen Bucey and Dan Clark made the most of their positions whilst Aaron Goldberg shredded through the riffs like a coyote on amphetamines. A hugely responsive crowd lapped up the likes of “10,000 Years” and “Wrinkle in Time”, with hit singles “Juliet” and “Get 'um Up” proving the most memorable.

With an appearance at the prestigious Download festival this year and a US tour with genre stalwarts Bowling For Soup, 2007 could just be the year for Army of Freshmen. Certainly a show I'd recommend attending if they come back around. As the escort agency motto says, satisfaction guaranteed.