Hard-Fi/The Lost Boys/The Rushes: KOKO, London, Wednesday February 6

In a smaller venue than they’re used to, London still goes mad for the ’Fi

They could inject them with a mutated anti-cancer virus until they turn into rabid, razortoothed psychozombies with a taste for the flesh of Will Smith. They could make them watch Girls Aloud mud-wrestling for hours. But scientists have concluded that the most humane and enjoyable way to work the average mammal into a state of frenzied excitement is to take them to see Staines’ finest: tests have proved that even the most placid of venues will go as screaming-bastard-mental as a Jerry Springer audience on National Free Tequila Day by song four.

A short-but-impressively widescreen set from The Rushes begins proceedings, followed by The Lost Boys, who even at an unfeasibly early hour manage to induce the kind of disco vibes KOKO usually only bears witness to in the dying hours of Friday night. In truth, though, both are but aperitifs. From Brixton to Wembley to the (for them) intimate environs of KOKO, the spectacle of the entire venue pogoing like a rammed-to-capacity flea carpet for a solid hour-and-a-half has become

a Hard-Fi institution, largely due to the fact that they’re among the best live British bands in operation today. The scenesters might splutter their pints of foaming, um, fire retardant foam the breadth of the Hawley. But even with indie’s most crowd-rousing hawker Richard Archer in relatively subdued mood tonight, this seamless torrent of übertunes and hyperhits – from the early chant choir of ‘Tied Up Too Tight’ through the Spector-esque ‘Can’t Get Along (Without You)’ and the rampant “Hallelujah!”s of ‘Television’ – has those less concerned with all things trendy feeling 10 feet tall.And with Mick Jones slinking from the shadows to slot a celebratory ‘Should I Stay Or Should I Go?’ between the dual disco destroyers ‘Hard To Beat’ and ‘Living For The Weekend’, four full days before the Great Fire Of Camden the ’Fi set February ablaze. And let there be no doubt; they are legend.

Mark Beaumont