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My Favorite

Hemisphere @ Underbelly, Hoxton, London.

Friday June 17th 2005

 

(review by scott causer)

So it’s down to Hoxton tonight to see New York City’s best kept secret My Favorite. I can spell ‘favourite’ by the way, before I get any smart-arsed emails, it’s just that these guys are from the USA and that’s how they do things over there, so when in Rome…

The venue (once located) is very nice, although somewhat inappropriately placed under the nightmare trendy bar of all nightmare trendy bars. Hoxton itself is a bit like Castlefield in Manchester but without the charm. It’s really lacking the spirit and the vibe as 40 yr olds pretend to be 20, driving around in their Porsches and Ferraris (which I nearly get knocked down by on my way to the venue). The rich kids here pretend to be townies, which always leads to the question, how the fuck can you pretend to be poor when you sit there drinking beers that are a fiver each? It’s like taking the piss out of poverty. Hoxton makes me laugh. It’s got bombed out newsagents sat next to trendy wine bars with Yuppies (very 80’s - yeah I thought they’d fucked off and left the planet and all) supping their Pimms. Mummy’s boys and daddy’s girls playing at being ‘street’… just fuck off back down South – oh fuck, we are down South! I wouldn't piss on Hoxton if it was on fire, and it often is, anyway I digress…

The first band Strange Idols needn’t have bothered turning up. Yeah they can play well, but the look on their faces… Christ… the lead singer looks like our local fucking estate agent and the female singer looks so bored… and that dress would be more appropriate for a dinner party - perhaps that’s where she’d rather be. I’m not saying that everyone has to be in your face and entertaining, but they wouldn’t go far wrong to provoke a reaction from the crowd. They’ve obviously heard the 80s are ‘in’ hence they dress like a Postcard Records bands (paisley-shirts-a –go-go). They even go as far as to include an Orange Juice cover in their set. After their limp rendition of ‘Rip It Up’ they go through the motions through a song, which sounds uncannily like ‘Happy Birthday’ by Altered Images. I’m not one to slag off young bands, but these cunts are signed for fuck’s sake. They could at least demonstrate a bit of passion for what they do… must be Southerners!

The next band up Plans and Apologies are marginally better and they’re not Southerners (which is something to be thankful for - they hail from Derby). They play well to, and have rehearsed their ‘songs’ well. Problem is they don’t believe in themselves and if you don’t believe in yourselves, how the fuck can you expect others to? They call the audience ‘cunts’ and they even sound ‘nice’ saying that. They then ask why no-one’s dancing. Two reasons: (1) Because this is London and no-one dances; and (2) because we’re just fucking bored by your mind-numbingly boring songs and your forced stage act. Still, they proceed to painfully (for us) gurn their way through a few more…

This brings us on to the real reason why we’re here, the UK debut gig from NYC’s finest, My Favorite. I only found out they were playing the week before... I was seriously planning to go to New York just to see this band… still may do one day anyway, just for the sheer hell of it!

My Favorite sound like a cross between New Order and The Smiths, but ultimately sound like neither. Their music could come straight off the ‘Pretty in Pink’ soundtrack. They sound very English and very 80s, although that is not to say they sound contrived nor retro. In fact this couldn’t be further from the truth – they’re unique - they sound so fresh and innocent and that’s no mean feat for a band going since the mid-1990s. The music features Peter Hook’s bass lines, Johnny Marr’s guitar, New Order’s keyboards (the drummer is also excellent - I don’t know who the fuck to compare him to, but wouldn’t mind poaching him for our band) and the dual vocals of Michael Grace Jr and Andrea Vaughn.

Someone should try telling this to the sound man. Unfortunately the band are cursed with the sound man from hell who fails to realise that there is more than one singer, leading Michael to request, more than once, for him to turn up Andrea during the first three songs. Eventually the sound problems are sorted and we’re able to hear their voices, which is what gives My Favorite their unique sound. When those guys sing together it’s truly beautiful… and when that melodica comes out… my oh my, pure heaven!

Their set features songs I recognise from their ‘The Happiest Days Of Our Lives’ CD and some songs which I don’t recognise, which may be songs from their debut album or could even be new songs… who knows… answers on a postcard to the usual address etc. The band hit their stride with songs like ‘The Happiest Days Of Our Lives, ‘The Suburbs Are Killing Us’ and ‘Badge.’ They even play that song which goes… you know… ‘He was an artichect, she was an actress’… and features a reference to a prominent erection (oo-er missus) in Paris (ok so why don’t I just say the Eiffel Tower, doh!). I fucking love that song but can never remember the name of it, and am way too lazy to dig the cd out to find out what it’s called, anyway…

 

The gig itself is a success, although I feel that My Favorite don’t get the welcome here that they truly deserve (Alan McGee where are you?). What does surprise me is why they are playing this particular venue… and who the fuck chose those support acts? Next time I’ll make sure The Electric Mainline are available… just give me a bell! I’m amazed they weren’t playing a more high profile venue. Couldn’t someone have gotten them a slot at Glastonbury? The band went down well… you could tell by the indie people nodding their heads like the Thunderbirds puppets they really are. However next time they need to play a more high profile gig, somewhere where they’ll be truly appreciated. London doesn’t welcome bands like it should, next time guys try Manchester, they’ll love you there!

 

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