The Long Blondes: Club NME at Future Punk, Selfridges, London: Friday, March 24
Club NME takes over the world’s poshest department store for a night of boozed-up punk mayhem
To celebrate the 30th anniversary of the birth of British punk, Club NME hijacked the basement of London’s mecca of posh, decked it out in black and neon, and booked a bunch of bands who represent the spirit of ’76. Up the punks!
Of course, wherever you have boring, sanctimonious morons, there will always be air wasted questioning whether you can have a ‘punk’ event which is taking place deep within the belly of the corporate beast. Zzzzz. Try telling Buzzcocks (who played here the week before) that their punk cred is in question. Or the kids dancing as the DJ spins Fugazi and Huggy Bear seven-inches.
Anyway. NME’s friends have been banging on about Vincent Vincent And The Villains for ages now, leading us to believe he was some kind of boho, rockabilly, poet genius whose skewed tales of romantic catastrophe in the capital city would thrill us to delirium. As it transpires he’s some kind of boho, rockabilly, poet genius who makes us smile a little bit, dance a little bit, but leaves us wishing we were watching Billy Childish, who does this kind of thing so much better.
Much superior are The Long Blondes, who split opinion by playing their brilliant songs very badly. It’s long been endearing that their ambition far exceeds their ability, but you can’t help thinking that six months in a rehearsal room would craft new opportunities to showcase all the reasons why we fell in love with them in the first place. That would be the sassy charm of singer Kate Jackson, who’s rapidly turning into a figurehead for the Oxfam set. Then there’s the likes of opener ‘Appropriation (By Any Other Name)’, or the heart-bursting ‘Giddy Stratospheres’ – still their best song, and more than enough reason to believe. What’s brilliant about tonight, though, is – as they climax with the smart, stroppy ‘Separated By Motorways’ – there are pockets of the crowd shouting nasty things and dancing like their spleens are on fire. They divide opinion. They raise talking points. They instigate dancing and disdain. Really, what could be more punk than that?