The Spinto Band: Centre Point Snooker Club, London; Tuesday, May 23

The Spinto Band: Centre Point Snooker Club, London; Tuesday, May 23

Snooker loopy nuts are they, with some schizo pop and weird covers

A snooker table laden with mangy-looking chicken nuggets and ham sandwiches cut into triangles. A smoke-filled, nicotine-stained subterranean room. A gaggle of dog-faced bunny-girls hiding behind a curtain… Where exactly is NME, and what are we doing here?

Contrary to first impressions, this isn’t Jim Davidson’s urban retreat or the Phoenix Club on Pole Dance Friday. It’s the Centrepoint Snooker Club in central London. And the reason we were ushered in here by men in suits with cardboard heads is to celebrate the release of the schizo-pop album from Delaware’s The Spinto Band. Classic indie hits blast from the PA as we tuck into soggy spring rolls over a flagon of cut-price ale and play Pin The Tail On The Spintodonkey, while rampant dogbunny girls frolick in the background. The band, meanwhile, are huddled up by the side of the stage, giggling and slapping each other with all the nervous energy of a boy scout about to get his winkie touched.

And bang! They’re out of the traps, tearing through recent single ‘Did I Tell You’ and the rest of their NME-rated nine-out-of-10 album. Kazoo-led ditty ‘Brown Boxes’ takes on almost anthemic status in front of the baying fans that blagged it in and the Flaming Lips-esque elegy ‘Direct To Helmet’ soars above the squalid venue. Although the Beatles-style head bobbing wears a bit thin after 10 tracks – especially when you’re watching them do it on televised archive gig footage simultaneously – the infectious enthusiasm seeps into the pores of all but the most cyncial industry ligger here.

They tear through Tiffany’s school disco anthem ‘I Think We’re Alone Now’, after which the unofficial seventh member of the Spintos, known as geeky cameraman joins in to beatbox on (cult ’80s rap group) Was (Not Was)’ ‘Walk The Dinosaur’. With sample lyric ‘Elvis landed in a rock-rock-rocket ship, healed a couple of lepers and disappeared’, it’s a suitably freakish choice for this evening. With that, they’re off to hang with the crowd, sign autographs, play snooker and try it on with the dogbunnies – a band of the people in their element.

Tim Chester