Operator Please

Lancashire gets a dose of pop fizz. 53 Degrees, Preston (March 6)

“Are you fucking kidding me? This is bullshit! God, I think I’m gonna be sick!” Amandah Wilkinson, lead shrieker with Australia’s finest new band, is mere minutes away from hitting the stage and NME has just broken what turns out to be some very big news to her. “The Futureheads are big fans of us?!” They’re like one of my fave bands… ever! This is the coolest thing… ever!”

No disrespect to Sunderland’s finest, but such over-excitement is a permanent presence in the world of Operator Please. So what if they’ve had just one day off in the last six weeks? So what if regular keyboard player Sarah is sitting out this tour due to personal reasons? Their 11-song set tonight exhibits little evidence of a band who are having anything other than, like, the coolest time… ever! Even as they open with new single ‘Get What You Want’ in front of a crowd that appear to be suffering the effects of seasonal affective disorder, Amandah and her stupidly merry band of boys and girls make like a bunch of fizzy teens who are playing the first gig of their young lives, not the fourth this week. What with debut album ‘Yes Yes Vindictive’ only released next Monday, the surely soon-to-be-adored likes of ‘Leave It Alone’ and ‘Two For My Seconds’, despite being delivered with rampant, almost ridiculous enthusiasm, elicit similarly lukewarm reactions. Yet, by the time they reach the irreplaceable ‘Just A Song About Ping Pong’, there’s a full-on moshpit in progress and those down the front are getting a beer shampoo. Still their best song by roughly a million pop miles, its short-sharp-shock punk stylings encapsulate all that’s great about Operator Please. They also blast through a cover of Devo’s ‘Whip It’ (a song also currently being played live by Does It Offend You, Yeah? – is this some sort of revival?), encouraging the now-keen audience to “sing along if you know the words!”

For a band this young to be sussed enough to doff their caps to the art-punk heroes is impressive; that their version of said song slips so seamlessly between their own is testament to the incredible noise they make. And, if they keep gigging with this much passion and energy, they’ll soon be your favourite band… ever!

Lauren Holden