Razorlight & Friends: The Forum, Kentish Town, London; Sunday March 25

In the name of charity Borrell sniffs out daylight robbery

We are gathered here this evening to mark an evil blight that has stained the conscience of mankind forever. A vicious crime against the dignity of the human spirit. In spite of all efforts to stamp it out, it continues to this very day.

But enough about Razorlight. Tonight, The Forum plays host to an anti-modern slavery benefit gig. Somehow though, 200 years to the day since William Wilberforce sat in the House Of Commons, tears streaming down his cheeks as his anti-slavery bill passed into law, you’d hope for something a little more triumphant than Finley Fucking Quaye. That’s right, and Super-fucking-grass. Plus Babyshambler Drew McConnell (plucky but outgunned), drivetime strummer Nerina Pallot (snooze patrol) and various world-muso types.

Rent-a-face Rhys Ifans appears, explains how the trade in cocoa “leaves blood on your gums”, via 27,000 modern slaves farming in West Africa, then tells everyone to buy Fairtrade. “To be honest, I don’t,” he bellows, “but fuck it, I’m gonna start trying.”

Before Razorlight come on, MC Daniel Bedingfield attempts to woo the crowd with a spot of human beatboxing. Unsuccessfully. Then, to mass jubilation, Borrell storms on in his traditional white jim-jams, and swings into a punchy ‘In The Morning’. The band than rattle off the big ’uns: ‘Golden Touch’, ‘Before I Fall To Pieces’ and ‘America’ – all tighter than JB’s kecks, curiously leaving ‘LA Waltz’ – on the setlist – unplayed. In 20 minutes they have come and gone.

The evening ends with the half-hour-late crowd chucking-it towards the last Tube, while a promoter stands onstage screeching, “Wait… COME BAAACK!” We have, it seems, missed a Djembe drumming group booked to come on after Razorlight. For most, however, emancipation cannot come soon enough.

Gavin Haynes

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