NME Tour 2008 Feat. Joe Lean and the Jing Jang Jong, Does It Offend You, Yeah?, The Ting Tings and The Cribs - The Refectory, Leeds University

And I never though The Cribs was a particularly good name for a band... The NME's 2008 tour headliners rumbled into Leeds for a triumphant homecoming show (well, Leeds is as close as they're going to get to Wakefield, right?) with the uniformly dreadfully monickered Does It Offend You, Yeah?, The Ting Tings and Joe Lean and the Jing Jang Jong in tow.

To be brutally honest I wasn't blown away by the line-up for this gig - it's been widely derided as one of the worst the magazine's annual nationwide blowout has provided for a good while - but always willing to put my sanity on the line for CD Times' readers I set off with tickets clutched in hand. A particularly thorough pat down by an over-eager security attendant, who gently informed me he was searching my person for sex, drugs and rock 'n' roll, meant that I didn't catch the start of The Ting Tings' set - ironically, this was a show that could have benefitted from a much more liberal dose of all three. The most notable feature about the openers was how forced their act seemed, with even the old indie standby of male/female harmonies that work wonderfully for the likes of Los Campesinos! and Bearsuit sounding stale and ugly. Everything about the pair is just horribly faddy, summed up by the dreary chanted chorus and turgid, tacked-on electronic beats of single Great DJ and the voguishly low budget video that accompanies it. There's actually a decent track in there struggling to escape, but singer Katie frequently resembles a wailing banshee and the broad, amateurish musicianship do their utmost to keep that fact hidden. Anything else worth reporting? Well, the whole set was agonisingly bad and dragged terribly, especially closer That's Not My Name, which is drawn out within an inch of its life. The duo are so very NOW - managing to represent pretty much everything that's wrong with indie in 2008 - they surely won't see the year out.

Does It Offend You proved a breath of fresh air after that showing, shining brightly on instrumental tracks like Weird Science and Battle Royale, although the odious novelty nonsense of Let's Make Out blots their copybook somewhat. Of the opening triumvirate of acts they're easily the most engaging though, frontman Morgan working the crowd well and pulling a pleasing amount of rock god shapes, while the live drummer makes an admirable job of pounding along to the pre-recorded backing tracks. The highlight of their set is predictably breathless take on We Are Rockstars, not even spoilt by the vocodered vocals hardly resembling those on the recorded version. Their album is finally released this month and will be greeted with interest by these ears.

After that rush of adrenaline the comedown inevitably followed, as Joe Lean and the Jing Jang Jong's set proved unbelievably dull. I was all set to hate them after enduring the tracks on their Myspace to prepare for this review, but the complete indifference they provoked was arguably even worse. Things even started out surprisingly well, leaving me floored at the prospect of a mildly diverting live experience, but the surf rock-by-way-of-The Kooks instrumental Tough Terrible is over all too quickly. Frontman Joe has zero charisma and even their best tune, Lucio Starts Fires, really isn't that good at all. Ignore the hype, because in all honesty this is nothing more than Razorlite and not worth my time to write about or yours to read about - simply avoid at all costs. In stark contrast, The Cribs were a bundle of energy, whizzing through a crowd-pleasing set that included tracks from their eponymous debut all the way through to last year's lauded Men's Needs, Women's Needs, Whatever, even making room for a cover of The Smiths' classic Panic. Earlier singles such as Martell whipped the crowd into a frenzy while the relatively serene Moving Pictures provided the now customary camera phones-in-the-air moment for this particualr show. The trio aren't quite ready to mellow yet though, as spirited playthroughs of Our Bovine Public and Men's Needs (probably the band's finest bonafide indie anthem since Hey Scenesters) readily proved. The crowd left drenched in sweat and with smiles on their faces, happy to have been provided with a satisfying end to what had been a frustrating inconsistent night.

Last updated: 19/04/2018 00:12:56

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