I was expecting great things from Ikara Colt.

I don’t know why.

It’s not like I’d heard them before.

Yes, I KNOW I’m a music writer but, I’m a busy girl y’know?!

Anyway, I’d not heard them but I’d heard a lot about them.

A LOT about them actually.

I’d heard from a London music professor that nowadays all his music students want to sound like them.

I had heard from the NME that all the wannabe writers for the aforementioned publication write about them. (I must replace the batteries on my warning bells.)

In fact, there has been such a general buzz in the music press about them that really I should have anticipated the ensuing overhyped stumble down the steps of the Astoria…

I looked down at the crowd from my vantage point, just in case I was missing a vibe in my elevated position… hmmph I thought, I’m not giving up a perfectly good seat for THAT. The place was packed but the only people making any kind of movement at all were those right at the front who had clearly mainlined about ten pints apiece and the movement was probably actually convulsing.

I didn’t know any of the songs I’ll admit. But usually you don’t HAVE to… something jumps out to grab you, whether by the heart, hair, throat or ahem, other places. But tonight. Nothing.I tried my reflexes…. All fine.

Taste buds? All good, the Grolsch beer was a particularly fine vintage.So what was wrong?

I looked around and to be honest, I wasn’t the only one. People were standing around talking idly, the way you do when you’re waiting for the main event to happen. It seemed to me that Ikara Colt really weren’t it. Ikara Colt actually looked a little bit like an afterthought…

Idlewild’s drum kit was there, centre stage and covered over. Ikara Colt had somehow managed to fit themselves in just to the left and that really summed up the ‘performance’ for the evening – an afterthought…

I remember seeing bands like this at university… scruffy guy in a suit with trainers on (apparently size 9 combats from what Paul was saying between songs) trying painfully hard to act out his own version of what he thinks a singer should do, possibly based on Jarvis-esque limb contortion and a lot of waggly finger pointing. As for the rest of them well, I just wanted to get up there, shake them violently and scream "put some life into it, for chrissakes!"

Ikara Colt do not get E for effort or indeed enthusiasm, rather A for apathy.

This awkward practice session went on for a few songs more whilst I watched four people who seemed very unsure of themselves and their instruments visibly watch each other for cues and their instruments to make sure their fingers were in the right places.

My look of confusion only grew at the end of the set. The band just ambled offstage. It was like being an observer at an amateur band night, and watching an awkward bunch of teenagers a bit embarrassed and self conscious at being on stage and lacking the confidence to actually muster any stage presence.

I hate it when the band don’t put in any effort. But then it struck me, why should they? After all, it seems to me that Ikara Colt are trying to hitch a ride on someone else’s bandwagon. The Strokes, Hives and White Stripes, being the similarly over hyped new dominant mould to which all bands must now conform, have done all the legwork (and don’t even start me on that tangent….) Ikara Colt can just stand around then…. And they do.

As I turned round to my bloke with a pained look on my face and said – "I am sick of coming to these gigs and watching shit bands, just for once it would be nice to come and hear a band that were really really good" - It would seem someone must have heard me, because the headlining band came on and turned me into a diehard fan by the end of the first song… but that is another story. For another time.

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Commenting On: London Astoria, 20/4/2002 - Ikara Colt

ie London, England

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