Live Review: The Young Knives

24 Jul

Haunt: Friday, July 22 2011.

With a drummer looking like a 70s porn star, a bass player who goes by the name of House of Lords and a goggle-eyed singer called Henry, The Young Knives were either going to be brilliant or bollocks.

It took all of thirty seconds of this one-off gig to realise it was the former as the smash and grab clatter of Terra Firma was dispatched with an unexpected sense of urgency.

It didn’t take long for their trademark inter-song banter to take hold either.

The House of Lords was gently mocked for sporting a vile Hawaiian shirt before he introduced a new song as the sexiest they’ve ever written.

At the rumbling bass rolled in, it was hard to know whether you should run for the hills or shake your hips. With a verse that sounds likes three social misfits wishing they were Prince, it is weird, sleazy and, whisper it, a real guilty pleasure.

They returned to more common ground with oldie Weekends and Bleak Days before prancing through a fair few tracks from their poppier third album, Ornaments From The Silver Arcade

Love My Name has a killer riff which The Strokes dropped down the back of their settee in 2001 while their last single Human Again – “it went massive,”  quips Henry sarcastically – is a blistering, tear-away track which should have become an indie-disco staple for years to come. If it doesn’t make you want to dance like you’re 17 then you’ve become the kind of miserable, downtrodden git you used to despise.

There was just enough time for Henry to chide the Mercury Music Prize judges for overlooking them, before they returned to their world of obscurity with the applause still ringing in their ears.

“Until yesterday I’d forgotten that I got to be rock and roll for an hour tonight,” he confesses, tongue firmly in cheek.

As good as they are, they’ll never be rock and roll. That’s what makes them so special.

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