The show took place in a much less busy rendition of my usual weekly haunt, Rebel Thursdays, with a gallery of Harrington jackets and checked shirts lining the venue’s innards. The demographic was an interesting range, mostly folks in their late 20’s and beyond, with a smattering of curious students and a peculiar older crowd, weathered fans in their 40’s and 50’s, wearing t shirts from the band’s debut tour.
The support acts kicked off with the Voluntears, a local indie rock 5 piece from Durham who put on a great show. Chummy energy between the frontman and his troops, accompanied by great riffs and a hell of a voice, and the occasional dig at Preston’s history in between songs. What’s not to like? The Middens followed, who were a much younger, technically impressive group of lads from North Shields, of the New Mod genre. The Castells came on last, a Durham foursome with a distinct sound. The frontman had serious energy, and the music was giving off some great Black Keys vibes. Unfortunately their set got cut a bit short, but they put on a good show, and had a bunch of fans in keen observation throughout.
When The Ordinary Boys burst on to the scene the crowd let out a resounding roar and they kicked off with the opener on their impressive new album About Tonight which got the crowd jumping. You can tell Preston has matured across his career and his skills as a frontman were certainly showing. He was jovial with the crowd, and across the gig, his unique voice shone through, with most of the songs sounding straight from album. The technical ability of the band was glaring.
Though, it was when they marched straight into their most famous track from the first album “Over the Counter Culture” that the atmosphere really started to pick up, and you could feel the energy in the crowd.
The staunch older fans from before surged to the front and carnage ensued, with the blokes stumbling about front and centre, grabbing and gesturing at Preston and mouthing every word straight back to him. The utter devotion played out like a scene from a Morrissey concert, one of Preston’s main influences and of course, the source of the bands namesake. The intimate nature of the gig played right into the bands hands, yet the raucous nature of the front row created an odd literal void of space between the die hard and the curious.
They pushed on however, through highlights like the piercing guitar and intense drumming of “The List Goes On” and “Awkward” another highlight from their new album, and you couldn’t fault a song, with the guitarist, Louis Jones of Spectrals fame harmonizing well with Preston along the way. Guitar pedal troubles led to a brief interlude, in which Preston gave a great solo rendition of “Just a Song” as they worked out the kinks. They ushered in the end the gig with the well-known “Boys Will Be Boys” and as the set culminated the band seemed to escape the stage at some pace, before Preston could even turn around, to his obvious shock. The abrupt end was the only tremor in an otherwise quality performance, that, and the fact they didn’t play their brilliant cover of t.A.T.u’s “All The Things She Said”.