The Ordinary Boys: Leeds University, Thursday, March 23
Preston and the boys manage to keep the Army happy along with the new fans
If The Ordinary Boys’ astounding career renaissance is testament to anything, it’s that there’s always hope for the humble indie band who’ve fallen on hard times. On tonight’s evidence, fame is just a televised alligator-wrestle away from Dominic Masters, and glory days are just around the corner for The Music if Robert Harvey would only sign up for this year’s Celebrity Love Island.
Preston and chums haven’t even taken to the stage yet, and already the walls are trembling from the sheer volume of the crowd – guys shouting, girls screaming, a mass trample of feet that sounds like a randy herd of rhinoceros – all for a band who, to all intents and purposes, were dead in the water not three months ago. Make what you will of The Ordinary Boys’ new-found stardom (although it’s worth noting that they used to sell this place out before Big Brother), but despite the presence of several hundred Heat readers here simply to ogle CBB’s fourth-placed finalist and maybe bump into his (absent) missus, tonight is a triumph of substance over celebrity.
“Well, you’re fuckin’ loud enough, in’t ya?” chirps a bespectacled Preston as the band bound onstage and launch into ‘Week In, Week Out’ to the bemusement of the glossy brigade and to the unabashed joy of the Ordinary Army. Hopping around one-legged like the proverbial chimp at a tea party, Preston looks as though he’s having the time of his young life, and rightly so. Just about everything they play from first album ‘Over The Counter Culture’ is met with the kind of fervour usually reserved for football matches. Indeed, at one point tonight, Preston even pleads with the crowd to quiet down, lest the remainder of the band’s UK tour pale in comparison to this evening. “Normally we do a tour and the crowds tend to get louder and louder every night,” he explains, “but after this, I think we’re fucked.” As clichés go, it’s the oldest, most tiresome one in the book, but for once, this isn’t just lip service – this is proper insanity.
To wheel out another cliché: every cloud has a silver lining, and tonight the flipside of ‘Boys Will Be Boys’’ lairy chav-rock is the gorgeous ‘Seaside’. “Anyone who’s seen us live before will know we can’t afford a brass section on tour with us,” says Preston before tonight’s final song. “So if you could just go ‘Ba ba ba’ at the right bits, you’ll be saving us a couple of hundred quid.” The crowd duly obliges. “Aw, that’s fucking beautiful, Leeds!” exclaims a visibly emotional Preston. And you know what? He’s right. It is fucking beautiful.
As second bites at the cherry go, The Ordinary Boys’ revival is thankfully more John Travolta in Pulp Fiction than Tony Christie’s comedy records. Fame may be fickle, but you get the impression that The Ordinary Boys are going to grab this opportunity with both hands. And regardless of what you think of their rapid ascension, you can’t deny that they’re a damn sight more desirable than a Dead Or Alive reunion tour.