Back where it all began, Scotland’s riot rockers play to a room packed with frenzied friends and neighbours. And Kieren’s grans…
Are ye goin’ to see The View tonight, then?” queries NME’s taxi driver, en route to Dundee’s Caird Hall. “Good luck to ye son, because that place is fucking heaving tonight.”
He’s not wrong, either. Tonight marks the opening night of The View’s victory lap around the nation, a victory lap that’s come sooner than anyone could have expected, after a gestation period that would make the Monkeys proud. Can it really be less than a year since our eardrums first burst open at the wailing wall of echoey feedback that opened grot-pop masterpiece ‘Wasted Little DJs’? And did we dream it, or did their debut album – the breathless, ramshackle, melodically top-heavy ‘Hats Off To The Buskers’ – crash into the charts at Number One a mere five months later? The View were promoted to rock’s Premiership after just a few knockabouts, and now they’re back where it all began.
Dundee is a small city, but you’d be forgiven tonight for mistaking it for a tiny provincial hamlet; everyone in the crowd seems to know everybody else and everybody knows The View, whether they once plastered Kyle Falconer’s mum’s bathroom, or used to get plastered with Peter Reilly’s cousin twice removed. They’re the dictionary definition of local boys made good and everybody, from the crusty eight-year-olds jumping around on the balconies to their middle-aged mums sporting T-shirts emblazoned with the legend ‘Dryburgh Soul’, is here to pay homage.
“Awwwright, Dundee!” exclaims Kyle in his customary, nigh-on-incomprehensible scatterbrain diction, as he takes the stage to the raucous strains of ‘Comin’ Down’. “Let’s go fuckin’ mental!”
And oh, how they oblige. Among all the tales of chaos that surround The View, it’s often easy to forget why they matter so much in the first place – from starry-eyed, short-of-breath paeans to youth like ‘Gran’s For Tea’ (tonight dedicated to Kieren’s grans, who, unsurprisingly enough, are both here), or the snarling tribute to Dryburgh that is ‘Wasteland’ (tonight sounding like it might implode in on itself with sheer teenage frustration), it’s the songs that are most important.
And tonight Dundee gets treated to a few special ones; a rare outing of the unabashedly sweet ‘Claudia’, an even rarer run-through of ‘Face For The Radio’ – for which the houselights go up and every word is sung by a crowd who appear at times on the verge of tears – and a cheeky rendition of ‘Up The Junction’, harking back to their cover-band days at The Bay View Bar.
It all builds, however, to a thundering, triple-pronged, gold-plated crescendo of radio-shagging singles that tips the crowd over the edge, from merely incredibly excited to positively frenzied. “We dinnae do encores, no matter what our tour manager says,” explains Kieren Webster. “So we’ve got a couple more tunes for you, then we’re off.”
But what tunes… ‘Same Jeans’ bristles with youthful, small-town determination to have nothing less than the greatest night of its life, while the now-certifiable anthem ‘Superstar Tradesman’ acts as a poignant reminder of just how far this band have come – tonight’s crowd is peppered with the ones who never managed to make it. There are no prizes for guessing what rounds off the evening’s festivities, however.
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“Astedwayittlelayjaysday!” yelps Falconer as ‘Wasted Little DJs’ reaches its glorious apex and a few thousand Dundonians pogo around him as though he’s preaching gospel. It’s absolute gobbledygook (well, double-dutch actually), but it’s also total, unquestionable genius, and a euphoric ending to the biggest night Dundee has seen since… well, ever. The Beatles once played Caird Hall, at the height of Beatlemania; after the wild, wanton carnage that’s gone on tonight, you get the feeling that the patrons must long for the days when those nice, quiet Liverpudlians and their well-behaved fans were here.
An hour later, and a mile down the road, the aftershow party at the Marquee club is so positively rammed for Wasted Little DJs’ set that The View themselves have had to decamp to an adjoining old man’s pub just to get a drink – and possibly a wee cheeky something else – at their own aftershow.
“Bolt, ya bam!” exclaims Kyle Falconer, as yet another drunk mate comes leering up to him. “I’m daein’ an interview here! Have you got a line?”
Sadly for Kyle, all the drugs – including the biggest ecstasy pill NME has ever clapped eyes on – are long gone, and all that remains is for the band to drink themselves into a coma. The last we see of any of them, Pete’s slouched against a wall clasping a whisky and Coke, barely capable of speech. Hats off to you, boys.