Little Comets play Manchester’s Club Academy tonight, the second time I’ve seen them in this venue. It’s tough for a band who primarily tour the UK and have a consistent but not particularly growing fanbase to mix it up. There’s only so many venues it makes sense to play. Despite this, Little Comets are one of the most versatile, genuine and brilliant bands around today, so I’m sure it won’t be much of a problem for them. Plus, with the recent release of third album, Hope Is Just A State Of Mind, there’s a new batch of sweet new songs to serenade the crowd with.
Opening up for the Newcastle three-piece tonight is Model Aeroplanes, four young lads from “a place at the top of the land called Scotland”. The band make happy indie-pop, perfect summer festival music if ever I’ve heard it. I would happily dance the night away to their funky (if not slightly too samey) tunes ‘Club Low’ and ‘Electricity’, although the half full room doesn’t seem quite ready for that yet. Chemistry between the boys is perfectly observable after just one song, a love for making music and playing for people is lovely to see. Model Aeroplanes play a pretty perfect set, even after asking the crowd “dinnae hate us if we fuck up a song” in a thick, Scottish accent. The band exit thanking the crowd for being “all things nice”, before a short wait until the headline set.
Rob, Mickey and Matt enter the stage, all grown up, with wives and kids, almost the opposite of best mates and “lad band” Catfish & The Bottlemen – who they’ve just been announced to support on tour. A very odd realisation, as the last time Little Comets played Club Academy, Catfish supported them. Tonight’s set starts more leisurely than usual, beginning with slow ‘The Gift Of Sound’ and steady ‘Isles’. The crowd atmosphere is certainly affecting the mood of the band and the small amount of people who seem intent on actually listening to them. Consistent chatting and at least five people being chucked out for being on drugs is not what anyone wants or expects from any gig, let alone Little Comets. The band seem slightly quieter than usual in themselves, although it’s not as though onstage banter is Rob’s forte. Songs flow smoothly from one to another, just the guys seem detached and static, and the audience attention surely is a contributing factor.
‘Jennifer’, ‘Joanna’ and ‘Adultery’ follow each other consecutively to the best crowd reaction and participation so far. Jumping and singing and smiling and everything normally found at a Little Comets gig happens suddenly and spectacularly. Mickey’s superb guitar riffs and Rob’s dynamic range really shows off the pure talent the boys possess, with the best and ultimately most important one being they write a bloody good song. Although these songs and other audience favourites like ‘Dancing Song’ are great, fun tracks, my personal favourites seem to be the songs no one else cares about.
Little Comets are one of the few bands these days that write brilliant songs about important social issues, but unfortunately your average teenager would rather talk through these than listen to the lyrics. ‘Violence Out Tonight’ and ‘The Blur, The Line And The Thickest Of Onions’ focusing on the misogynistic and rape culture we have in Britain – and with a feeling of anger about the lack of anything being done about it. Harmonies to give me goosebumps like nothing else, it’s the quiet and distraught passion in Rob’s soft tone that really tugs at your heart strings. There’s no denying a topic he feels very strongly about, and that’s so clearly conveyed to the audience that are in that moment with the band. Rob simply states “thanks for coming out and singing and just supporting our music in general”. Little Comets played as well as they ever do tonight, sometimes the experience you have despite this is beyond your control.