Mean Fiddler, Charing Cross Rd, London. January 29th 2004

Tonight's award for biggest fashion blunder goes to lead guitarist, Doug Morch. I don't think I've ever seen anyone, outside of an Ealing Comedy or a Specials gig, pull off wearing a trilby. Slouching onstage under a too-small titfer and wearing a thick black jacket he looks like an indie binman. Shame.

Maybe it's a conscious effort to make lead singer Rob McVey look like a rock-god in comparison, but really, he needs little help. Tall, thin, good looking and beaming with confidence, he takes his place sure in the knowledge that his band are about to impress. In a big way.

The Mean Fiddler is sold-out tonight, but seems less full than other gigs I've seen here. Maybe it's the fresh-vomit stench emanating from the downstairs bar, driving people into the furthest corners. Whatever, I've found a good vantage point and with the opening bars of first track "When You Sleep" I'm rooted to the spot.

After a new number, First and Last, they play the track that came to me in a dream. "Can't Explain" was playing on the radio as I slept and I found myself staring in awe at someone playing what I was sure was the most beautiful song I'd ever heard. Tonight, awake, it's far from it, but it's still pretty damn good. And I'm not the only one who thinks so.

All the best tracks from "Mercury" follow in quick succession, with a new song or two and a mellow interlude thrown in, to add some variety. There's very little you can find to fault.

Longview are playing the industry game, and playing it well. They definitely have the songs, the charisma and the necessary enthusiam. The Intimate gigs, nationwide tours, superb website and ever growing fanbase go someway towards the A-list. But, I can't help fearing that they're in the wrong place at the wrong time. With excellent bands like the Delays and Snow Patrol and Franz Ferdinand putting guitar music back into the upper reaches of the charts and earning playlist ubiquity, I'm afraid that Longview will be lost amidst a scene dominated by less deserving bands who have come in on their coat tails.

I hope I'm wrong, because tonight Longview are champions in a league of their own.

SET LIST:When You Sleep, First And Last, Can't explain, You Don't Care, I Would, Electricity, Falling, If You Asked, Still, Will You Wait Here, Jealousy, Further.

Richy [ February 2nd, 2004 ]

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