22-20s : London Camden Dublin Castle
The reaction is unanimously positive
There should a public service award for The White Stripes and Yeah Yeah Yeahs for reclaiming the blues from boring conservative musos, re-energizing it and making it sexy. Now meet the 22-20s. They’re taking the new US blue(s)print and redrawing it afresh.
The bidding war that has followed the unsigned Lincoln trio of teenagers around the country has seen them wined, dined and probably a whole lot more. Halfway through a short tour that culminates with a NME Awards Show slot the blizzard of attention reaches its peak tonight with dozens forced to sit outside eagerly craning forward to catch a glimpse through a small pane of safety glass. There’s tens of execs facing an early morning sacking after failing to get in. Despite trying to bust in through the fire exits.
From the outset there’s edginess to charismatic guitarist/singer Martin Trimble’s voice that’s as exhilarating as rock should be. The vocals peak in the beautiful spite of ‘Such A Fool’, playing off the intense boneshaking drumming that powers it to a ferocious guitar-throttling climax. He even incorporates the heart-stopping vocal leaps that Dylan was so fond of in his classic sixties period. Meanwhile the statuesque presence of bassist Glen Bartup lends him the look of the UK representative of the foppish wing of The Strokes. He coolly sits out a ‘When I Get Old Enough’ performed ‘Stripes style, nodding along.
Even Jack White could be proud of ‘Images Of You’, a devilish claustrophobic throbbing riff bouyed on a sea of tom toms that explodes into a breathtaking panoramic chorus. It climaxes with a rhythmic fuck you purloined from the intro of Hendrix’s ‘Foxy Lady’. All in under three minutes.
And not even a broken guitar strap can unseat the new feather cut prince of blues – Martin gently cradles the guitar while his frenzied attack on the strings continues unabated.
And after just eight songs finishing with a suitably electrifying cover of Muddy Waters’ ‘King Bee’ it’s over. The reaction is unanimously positive. NME talks to the band backstage – a tiny cluttered graffitti’d-to-fuck room. It’s a strangely calm environment in contrast to the swirl of record company bodies just feet away behind a door. They’re fresh-faced and friendly; buzzing with the eagerness and excited confidence that comes from performing a great gig.
One A&R insider tells NME: “They’re the most exciting British group I’ve seen for ages. You don’t get groups like this. British groups are too lazy to be like this.”
An industry insider said: “He’s a fabulous guitar player, He’s riverting to watch it’s been a long time since I’ve seen a such a great guitarist.”
As the momentum of the New Rock Revolution gathers pace, along with The Music, The Libertines and upstarts The Basement their place at the heart of the British contingent is assured. They’re about to disappear for a while, recording and planning their music conquest. But keep watching.