The View, Twisted Wheel, Tommy Sparks
Koko, London, Tuesday, February 10
There’s a brilliant moment towards the end of The View’s triumphant set tonight. It comes after the band have survived stage invasions from their raging and inebriated label manager James Endeacott, after they’ve kicked their way through a debris of cotton (jumpers, scarves and tights) chucked by fans, after they’ve been joined by three worryingly angelic-looking string players and well after they’ve transported the audience right into the palms of their sweaty hands.
Side-of-stage, a fight breaks out. It takes the band roughly three lines of ‘Shock Horror’ before they realise and, when they do, it’s like watching the four horsemen seeing the light of the impending apocalypse. It’s not punk rock, it’s not clever and it’s certainly not big. But it is dead exciting when you’ve got the entire band staring wide-eyed not at their audience but at their mate’s ruckus, visibly on the verge of downing their instruments and getting stuck in. It’s indicative of the kind of band The View have become – one big, beautiful, dysfunctional family of nutters.
All that couldn’t be further from tonight’s opening act, Tommy Sparks. The Bloc Party associate (he temporarily replaced bassist Gordon Moakes on tour) says he wants to “pop things up a little bit”, which seems optimistic. But when his band launch into ‘She’s Got Me Dancing’, their sleek Tom Tom Club homage, it more than fulfils the promise of the title. The crowd moves. Tommy moves back. He’s like an east London vampire version of Justin Timberlake, but with David Byrne’s tonsils.
The audience reaction to the likes of ‘She’s A Weapon’, meanwhile, shows Twisted Wheel to already be a band who people genuinely obsess over. Frontman Jonny Brown spits out his lyrics like a Web 2.0 Paul Weller and he looks the part too – a sweet and tender hooligan dressed in Happy Mondays’ beerboy clobber.
But it’s The View who get the biggest cheer of the night, for a closing cover of ‘Don’t Look Back In Anger’. Playing solo, Kyle Falconer transports the song from tired cliché to a genuine moment of beauty, cementing his band’s status as leaders of a new generation of Brit brats, warts and all.