Dexters - The Forum, London

Back when tonight’s headliners The Rifles came onto the scene, the musical landscape seemed more forgiving for indie rock outfits, spearheaded by the huge success of Arctic Monkeys. Not that it guaranteed longevity for all – Little Man Tate, anyone? – but if the fervent crowd within The Forum proves anything, it’s that fans won over back then (perhaps in sweaty uni venues) have stayed loyal. These days, even critical acclaim for guitar bands doesn’t guarantee anything, Tribes a case in point, so what exactly does the future hold for tonight’s openers Dexters? All we can really say at the moment is that a support slot with The Rifles could prove to be the perfect platform.

As well as providing a glimpse of what might be in years to come, Dexters should be heartened by the crowd appreciation. After all, the muted response for main support Life In Film showed tonight’s crowd weren’t ready to be won over by just anything. It helps that the five-piece put in an energetic and tight set, punctuated with the chorus-driven singles ‘The Hard Way’ and ‘Start To Run’. The subtler build-up of ‘Oceans’ shows that Dexters aren’t just all about fast riffs and by the time they’ve departed the stage, dedicated mini-moshpits have broken out. Combined with the lack of talking among the crowd during the set (even the acoustic section of The Rifles’ set doesn’t get complete quiet reverence), you get the feeling they’ve won over a fair few people.

Of course, just because a band can cut it in a live setting doesn’t mean they’ll have the fans to fill out venues when headlining. Even after seven years, ‘She’s Got Standards’ holds up – as does say, ‘The Great Escape’ for We Are Scientists after nine years – and Dexters haven’t quite got that killer track just yet, but there’s plenty of promise that it’ll come. What they do have is a winning live presence and with several dates left on this tour, a lot of time to rack up fans who know a bit about following indie rock outfits through the years.

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