Tunbridge Wells The Forum

It mostly sounds a bit like [a]Nirvana[/a] by numbers.

Friday night in Middle England and the indie kids are at play. Outside are packs of attack dog-eyed lager-lager-lager lads but here, in the Forum (a privatised ex-public toilet) it’s nice and safe and cosy.

Down the front are 20 kids, all of them legends in their own fifth forms. A wispily bearded youth leaps from the stage and his prone body is held aloft by his comrades. For about ten seconds. And then lowered gently to the floor. Because there’s nowhere else to go. It might be a physical metaphor for the dead-end in which indie finds itself. Then again, it might just be a bit sad.

[a]Wilt[/a] used to be Kerbdog, who some folks said were the noo [a]Metallica[/a], but who turned out to be a Yank-fixated ‘power trio’ playing energetic ‘post-rock’. Now they’re like this…

Looking like a pylon-spotter on holiday, Buddy Holly bespectacled and surfer-dude shirted singer/guitarist Cormac Battle is chirpy, cheeky, chippy and (thank the Lord) unfashionably witty. The man is a star. The world just doesn’t know it yet. And probably never will. Songs from the debut album ‘Bastinado’ are trotted round the paddock. It mostly sounds a bit like Nirvana by numbers.

‘Radio Disco’ rocks, ‘Expedestrians’ rules, but only the rock’n’rolly ‘It’s All Over Now’ really stands out from the ‘Smells A Bit Like Teen Spirit’ crowd. One wants more extremity, brevity and major chord riffs. And one has a desperate urge to purge Mr Battle‘s record collection of drearily derivative and substandard clutter like The Smiths and the Pixies.

For if [a]Wilt[/a] are to avoid repeating the so-so ho-hum half-remembered fate of the not-missed-much Kerbdog then they need to get back to basics. They need to unleash the riff-spewing rock-beast within – and to hell with ‘songs’. Better to burn out than to fade away, yeah? Uh, yeah. Sort of.