London Highbury Union Chapel
A double bass, a French horn and a singer whose delivery and bone structure are already proven winners....
And not just any old band, either. Imagine the young [a]Stone Roses[/a] infusing their laconic Manc cool into The Beta Band's meandering 21st-century folk. Then imagine it sounding more dishevelled and dewy fresh than that. The cherry on top, though, is singer Lee Gorton - a baby Ian Brown unburdened by his forebear's swagger and bluster, all boyish grin and self-deprecating asides.
And then there's the tunes. Still a little wispy on record - their imminent, eponymous seven-inch EP, to be precise - tonight, Alfie invest their ambling, pluri-instrumental songs with greater generosity. 'Sure And Simple Time' is lush with strings and brass, while 'Check The Weight' takes a skimpy, bittersweet theme and gently builds it into a baggy pastoral gambol.
And why hurry? There's no Next Big Thing whip chivying Alfie's every move, even though their talents would warrant it. There's just some mellow tunes here, a refreshing love of skewed melody there. Sometimes, that's what it's all about.
To read all our reviews first - days before they appear online - check out NME magazine, on sale every Wednesday