The Hornblower Brothers, The Almost Orphans, Braid, Bohemian Mods

Owain Paciuszko 29/05/2009

A pleasingly stuffed upstairs at the Prince Albert gave a warm welcome to the summery, soulful sound of Bohemian Mods, they delivered pop tunes with a 60s and 70s influence; there was also a touch of the Jack Johnsons about their music, mainly down to lead singer Richard Jackson's easy-going vocal. Lyrically the band occasionally scraped the cliche barrel, and one track inparticular - though I forget its lyrics now - almost caused me to burst into embarassed laughter. But, overall they had a nice, laidback mood.

There's an unspoken rule that is generally to not over-hype something, especially in Britain, as it ups people's innate sense of cynicism. Braid either had no control over what happened next, or haven't heard this rule, or they believe their own hype. A lady came out before the band started playing and introduced the band, telling us they'd just come from SXSW, they're about to release a charity single backed by The Sun newspaper and we're all going to be hearing a lot more from them in the very near future. If she meant that last statement as in; 'We'll be hearing a lot more from them because they haven't started playing yet.', then she was right. Otherwise Braid failed to meet her levels of hyperbole, not helped at all by this distancing introduction.

The band play a straight-forward rock with relatively decent riffs, that became a little grating with their lack of development. They play well together, but there is nothing about them that puts them onto any sort of pedestal. For the last song of their set the guitarist performed in just a thong.

The Almost Orphans took to the stage next and were a wonderful contrast to Braid's slick-rock, playing punkish rockabilly with huge ammounts of verve and energy, buoyed by the pleasingly cartoon-like sound of the enthusiastically plucked double-bass. They instantly whipped the crowd into a skittering mass of dancing bodies, by just playing instantly catchy, instantly entertaining, noise-soaked madness. It was like a barndance being attacked by a rave, in short, glorious!

Final act was The Hornblower Brothers, a folk-pop act with good raggedy beats and some smart lyrics thrown into the mix. Their sense of enjoyment was obvious and infectious, with a sound like The Jam covering The Specials, they fed off the energy created by The Almost Orphans and kept the crowd bobbing and dancing along. Their quirky sound was aided by the lead singer's nasal Graham Coxon-like voice and he also had a good line in between song patter that promises they'll be recording something in 'June, maybe July... or August...'. A fine end to a fine evening.