The Stands / Eastern Lane

Reading Fez Club


"HELLLOOO!" screams Eastern Lane's permed frontman Derek Meins, sporting possibly the worst hair in rock, during their introductory 'song'. Actually to call it a song is flattery, it's more an amalgamation of ramshackle, spiky guitars, and shouty Scottish vocals, and sets the tone for much of the band's set.

Despite looking like Cast's younger brothers, The Stands are the latest in a long line of 'cosmic scouse' bands to be hyped by the music press. Onstage, the band sound like The Coral on tranquilisers, if such a thing can be imagined; the Liverpudlian Rickenbacker jangle sedated rather than shambolic. Howie Payne's Dylan-esque songwriting abilities set the band apart from their counterparts, and have won them a host of admirers including Noel Gallagher. Highlights of the band's set included recent single I Need You, the Byrds-y All Year Is Leaving and a track that begins as a typical folky ballad, but then dissolves into a full-on, blinding ten minute jazz/funk jam. DO believe the hype.

Clive Drew