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London South Bank Royal Festival Hall

They got knocked down, but now they've got back up again...

Take heart, victims of corporate cutbacks: don't apply for that cleaning job at the Record & Tape Exchange just yet. For here are Rialto - they got knocked down, but now they've got back up again.



That story again: two weeks before their album was due for release HMS Rialto hit a big industry iceberg and went down with all hands on deck, only for the crew to be rescued by a passing independent label. A few months later, towel-dried from their unexpected dip, here they are again, poncing about in a posh theatre like nothing happened. Good skills, chaps.



Whether this is a tribute to grit, inherent ability or the fact that Rialto couldn't think of anything better to do is a more curious proposition. Rialto's charm is undiminished and unaltered by their humbling ordeal. They've still got that belligerently optimistic streak and show no signs of lapsing into cynicism or self-pity. What's more, as the only new song they play tonight, a zingy, stringy thing called 'Shatterproof', demonstrates, they still know a good tune when they hear one. The fact that they seem to have heard most of those tunes for the first time on Abba's 'Greatest Hits' ('Untouchable' is 'The Winner Takes It All') matters little.



That magpie streak is just another facet of Rialto's inherent, guileless, beautiful humanity. Just take a look at them, Ventolin-sucking, floppy-fringed wretches that they are, smiling their nervous little smiles like they expect to get another smack in the kisser from the school bully at any moment. They're still up there, though, playing for all the other lonely losers out there in the vain hope that if enough like-minded folks gather together, Basher Briggs will leave them alone. And it's such a bold, bombastic and bountifully melodic stance that they can be forgiven for sounding like the bloody Lightning Seeds from time to time.



Another minor victory for the little fellas, then. Rialto 1, Goliath 0.

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