18/05/04 APU Bar, Cambridge

As it is a lady's perogative to be fashionably late, and these things never usually run on time (sod's law that it actually did tonight), I didn't see first band on, Raiders of Rock and Roll. But, as luck would have it, I found their CD lying around the Students Union and, in true skint person style, pinched it to have a shufty. And promptly kind of wished I hadn't. They sound like Free, for crying out loud. Which means accomplished muso-ship packed with widdly guitars and retro riffs to knock your socks off, but not really my cup of tea. I picture long hair being swung round theatrically and shirts unbuttoned to the navel. Although the singer does sound a little like Gary Stringer from Reef. Hmmm; I wonder if he looks like him…

Moving swiftly on, My Awesome Compilation were the band that I had really come to hear anyway (my fella had been praising them incessantly) and I was well rewarded. Not only were they, dare I say it, Awesome (apologies, but they were!), but the singer is also cute enough to kidnap (you know you're getting older when the bands start looking younger) and their bass player is called Darius. Tee hee. All that aside though, this Leicester four-piece have an impressive history under their belts already and from watching them tonight I can see why. Rock-star-formula to the end, they say funny things to the crowd when they're not throwing themselves around, they use keyboards as a soft, sweet cushion for their melody-laden emo rock and roll and they sound not unlike Jimmy Eat World (listen to recent release "As always" if you don't believe me). I would have probably disliked them about five years ago but I see this mellowing and wanting to hear young men sing about having their hearts broken another sign of my maturing years. So it is something I may as well begin to enjoy.

chris and darius

I wasn't really sure what to make of This Girl, on the other hand. Apparently, I had seen them before and didn't remember, which wasn't the greatest of starts. Regardless, I guess I was also a tad confused by the retro-looking, striped-shirt-wearing, looks-like-he-should-be-in-The-Strokes lead singer because this is a fairly hardcore sounding band, so surely he should have been in black from head to toe. Or at least had dyed black hair, like Funeral For a Friend. Still, obviously somewhat breaking the mould, he had a fantastic presence, and looked like he was born straddling a mic stand or atop an amplifier, which made them extremely watchable, and, although I wasn't completely struck down musically, there were some pretty infectious tunes thrown in at times. Which sent the little men, who had now congregated beside the stage, crazy, short trousers and dazzling white trainers flying around the room. Not a good thing on a balmy early summer's evening in a confined space. It smelt like a tomcat's g-string by the time I left.

Anna Claxton