The Zutons/Vincent Vincent And The Villains/Fields: KOKO London: Tuesday Feb 14

Liverpool’s Fab Five showcase their new album in some style

The Zutons NME Awards Shows 2006 Koko, London 14th February
For the slow ones, then, a quick recap on the rules of rock: get a band together, nob about for four months coming up with a name, moan about being better than other bands and finally struggle for 12 months to find a sound that doesn’t owe something to that year’s BRIT award winners.

Tonight Fields – despite being barely six months old – are a revelation, boasting a unique amalgam of sound. The moment the drums explode on the opening ‘Song For The Fields’ is a beautiful shock that’s only bettered by the spectacular brutal rush of keyboards a minute later, like the greatest high you’ve imagined (can we call this song “brutiful”?). They’re equally special for the next 25 minutes, transmitting sinister folk rock in space with a krautrock groove, which makes Fields kind of the, er, Wicker Can. And recommendations don’t come much higher.

Vincent Vincent And The Villains have a similar issue with The Rules. Going somewhere last visited by Morrissey, they’re successfully mining a rich seam of dark ’50s British rock’n’roll, transforming it into something transcendentally modern. It’s a whirl of heartbreak and cut-throat razors, harmonies and fist fights. Vincent himself is superb, all rictus grin and crazy eyes like Pinkie in Brighton Rock, with the emphasis on Rock. And anyone who doesn’t shed a tear during ‘Johnny Two Bands’ – a savage yet sensitive hymn for a former bandmate – should get their eyes and ears checked; preferably with a claw hammer.

Finally it’s The Zutons, who’ve lived outside the rock merry-go-round of magazine covers and hype while stealthily selling over 800,000 records. Tonight they showcase songs from their forthcoming second album ‘Tired Of Hangin’ Around’. It appears to have perfected their formula: stompy, chirpy tunes on the outside disguising a dark interior, especially on ‘Oh Stacey, Look What You’ve Done’ and ‘Why Won’t You Give Me Your Love?’. The finest moment, though, is ‘Havana Gang Brawl’, an ominous groove that truly scales the summit. They may be criminally underrated, but that’s no surprise: their success is against the rules, after all.

Anthony Thornton

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