Record Overplayed
* *
* *
* *
* *
* *
* *
* *
* *
Scouting For Girls | Newcastle Academy | 27/03/08

Gig Review and Photo by Dawn

Nine months ago, Scouting For Girls were third on a five band bill at the Academy. Due to problems with the smaller room upstairs, that gig was moved down into the main room – a fact which made the sparse crowd look even smaller than it actually was. Tonight, however, the admission queue stretches around three sides of the huge venue and that same room is full to bursting with an enthusiastic audience. The power of radio airplay, it seems, is a wonderful thing...

Sadly tonight's support acts aren't as wonderful. Following the instantly forgettable Go:Audio, even the much-publicised Clocks don't really live up the promise of their pre-gig publicity – or their frontman's Jack White-esque top hat – and are disappointing save for the two more up-tempo numbers at the end of their set.

Enter the jubilant headliners (to the tune of Elvis Presley's Wonder of You and complete with extra guitarist Peter) and the crowd set the precedent for the whole show with the volume of their singing to set opener I Need a Holiday. Frontman Roy is clearly in his element, temporarily deserting his piano to run around the stage, conduct the crowd’s "oh-oh"s and lap up the attention during the band's recent B-Side, the wonderfully titled You Were Fitter in Your MySpace Picture.

The cynical among us might suggest that such references to popular culture (see also: She-Ra, James Bond and Michaela Strachan) serve to distract us from the songs' lack of substance, but to dismiss Scouting For Girls as some sort of novelty act would be to overlook their more subtle touches such as bassist Greg's beautiful backing vocals and Roy's sublime piano melodies in It’s Not About You. Only the hardest heart would fail to soften at the sight of the band’s beaming faces as the crowd sing the chorus of "don't you go home"s, leaving Roy to triumphantly announce "You’re magnificent".

Drummer Pete encourages some synchronised arm waving from the audience as the singalong continues for The Airplane Song - a track so simple yet so charmingly bittersweet that you wonder why no-one has written it before – before Roy indulges his 007 obsession to perform a solo cover of Nobody Does It Better. Cue some dramatic stage lighting and the James Bond theme, leaving the crowd in no doubt as to which song is to follow, as Roy asks an imaginary Goldfinger, "Do you expect me to talk?" No, Mr Stride; we expect you to sing... and sing he does, as the sell-out crowd clap along to I Wish I Was James Bond.

Tongue-in-cheek crowd favourite Michaela Strachan and new single Heartbeat (accompanied by a very impressive light show) are next before Roy once more takes centre stage to announce that he is Adam, Prince of Eternia and that, by the Power of Greyskull, he has the power. It could only be Mountains of Navaho, complete with 80's TV characters and possibly the best line in Scouting For Girls' lyrical armoury: "You took my car but you left your cat/ Who I never really liked and I've since sent back to your mother/ There's no-one quite like your mother". Mid-song, Roy informs us that the band's driver is asleep on the bus outside and that he can always tell if a gig was good if the noise of crowd wake him. Rest assured, Roy; on tonight’s evidence there’s no chance of him having had his 40 winks!


New B-side A-Level Pain brings us rocking into the encore before familiar finale She's So Lovely gives the crowd one last chance to sing along. Even Roy mixing up the lyrics and singing the wrong words (he puts it down to excitement) can't dampen spirits. The earlier Bond references speak for themselves – it seems that, right now, everything Roy, Greg and Pete touch turns to gold...

With thanks to the lovely Roy. Visit www.myspace.com/ScoutingForGirls for more information.

^ Top of Page


© Record Overplayed, 2002-2016.