Brighton Pressure Point

Well, they've certainly been [a]Toploader[/a]. Brighton, though, has definitely been better. ..

There is, of course, a “wooh!”. The washed and scrubbed hippy phenomenon that is Top 20 recording artists [a]Toploader[/a] rolls into town and it brings many things with it: its consummate keyboard chops, its arm raised in triumph after each successive middle-of-the-road anthem, but it’s the “wooh!” that lingers longest. Enjoying the sweaty phenomenon of successfully acquitted live music? Us too! Wooh! Pass us that towel, Dave!

Yes, here a good time is being had by all. Shaggy like a fringed jacket, soulful like The Commitments, [a]Toploader[/a] have perfected the art of delivering quality entertainment to people who will tolerate nothing less. This is, after all, not the indie badlands, all black leather and technical hitches. [a]Toploader[/a] are playing to the ‘You’re Gorgeous’ crowd, the speculative and mildly curious drawn in by the inescapable blandness of the group’s ‘Dancing In The Moonlight’ single, anxious to see if the group can “cut it live”. And, oh they can, they can.

Unceasingly they play and grin, to the point where it becomes impossible to tell whether they’re grinning because they’re playing well, or the other way round. One after another they come at you, [a]Toploader[/a] songs, a happy World War One of clichis. Lonely streets, check. Right with you, dark skies. They mean it alright, with their smiles and tidy fretboard work, but they’re sincere to the point when you could really go for something pretty tawdry and superficial just to relieve the blandness.

The trouble is, [a]Toploader[/a] seem to have taken [I]The Blues Brothers[/I] as a model for how to behave when in a rock’n’roll group. They are energised, have one very good song (new single ‘Achilles Heel’), and one of them bears an uncanny resemblance to TV’s Neil Morrissey – [a]Toploader[/a] really have all the bases covered to catch you on your developmental musical path from Top Shop to Paul Weller. But bloody hell, these people sweat dullness, and as the 39th guitar solo of the night starts, gratuitously, it becomes pretty obvious that the only way [a]Toploader[/a] could wank more would be if they were teenagers.

“You’ve been Brighton. We’ve been [a]Toploader[/a]!” announces hairy keyboardist Joseph Washbourn. Well, they’ve certainly been [a]Toploader[/a]. Brighton, though, has definitely been better. Wooh!