You’d have thought after three years of Give It A Name – the annual punk, metal, hardcore, emo, whatever shebang – they’d have got round to christening the damn thing. Now spread over three nights at London’s Earls Court, it seems they’re still no closer to choosing a name, though they’ve established it’s a boy, if a floppy-fringed, kohl-eyed one.
Juliette & The Licks have been doing this Blondie-gone-evil schlock long enough for the novelty of watching a Hollywood actress doing the splits again to have worn off, revealing the fact they are excruciatingly cack. Much better are bombastic Finnish types, HIM, led by the suave Ville Valo. Sure, they’ve got all the edge of a rusty butter knife, but blood-sucking metal ballad ‘Vampire Heart’ proves that sometimes soft metal can be justified.
Zico Chain’s grizzled new grunge sets the scene for the incendiary Kids In Glass Houses, who, like a redneck child passing bullets to his daddy, hand over to Enter Shikari to do some serious damage with their neon-hearted cyber metal. Frankly, sending Cute Is What We Aim For on after them is like sending a poodle on a blind date with a shark – yet, they certainly look purdy under their big, bright stage lights.
There’s no such polarising when it comes to New York’s Brand New, mind. As ‘You Won’t Know’ echoes around the hall – singer Jesse Lacey’s throat making the sound kettles do when they break – it’s clear no bands here will better their genius.
And certainly not The Automatic. Yes, Pennie thrashes away like a rat snorting strychnine, but despite gamely avoiding an onslaught of lobbed piss, they’re rubbish. When they die, expect people to cheer.
While Jimmy Eat World may have the look of three schoolteachers leading band class, they soon undermine their own tuition by shredding out a masterclass version of ‘The Middle’ – one with enough bounce to misplace teeth. It also suggests they might just be pop punk’s great lost band.
And so to the weekend’s closers AFI. Three tracks in, the doom-punks announce they are about to perform “something that has never happened before outside of California”. The crowd gasps… and on walks Nick 13 from their old pals, Tiger Army. Now that’s the definition of a letdown. Thus, the show fragments with a whimper, not a bang.
Now, guys, we were thinking, about next year’s festival, Francis is a really nice name, you know?