A terrifying cross between [a]Crowded House[/a] and [a]Sting[/a], you probably remember the Minneapolis trio from their irritatingly sentimental Top 15 single [B]'Secret Smile'[/B]...

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London Shepherd's Bush Empire

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London Shepherd’s Bush Empire

Save us from the American nerd. Raised on a belief that you can be anything you want in the good old US of A, it seems every kid who is ever picked on in school there seeks his revenge through turgid angst-rock. Still, God knows what we did to deserve [a]Semisonic[/a].

A terrifying cross between [a]Crowded House[/a] and [a]Sting[/a], you probably remember the Minneapolis trio from their irritatingly sentimental Top 15 single ‘Secret Smile’. But you don’t know the half of it. From start to overwrought finish, [a]Semisonic[/a] are a corporate rock dream, churning out every stadium clichi in the book without one original modification.

So Dan Wilson, the band’s painfully earnest Clarke Kent-type vocalist, dedicates one song to “guys here with dates”, gets the lucky people in the balcony to sing along and, during one of the many moody ballads, the crowd gleefully whip out their lighters. There’s even a cod-Beatles moment in ‘Never You Mind’, where Dan plays jaunty keyboards and John Munson treats the fans to a jovial, um, bass solo.

Even more disturbing, the alarmingly huge crowd here love every moment. Indeed, they make you realise you could congratulate [a]Semisonic[/a] on becoming a phenomenon all by themselves. But we’d rather remain smug in the knowledge that some people just never learn.