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Pete and the Pirates, Glasgow King Tuts

There was a time, somewhere between Baggy and Britpop, where British Indie didn’t really find a home. It were all grunge round here, but what of the fey popsters who had grown up on a diet of C86 and didn’t want to grow their hair long and sing about smack and self-loathing? Well, they simply picked up their guitars and made that great, uniquely British guitar music that only a certain type of British lad can.

So we had bands like Teenage Fanclub, Kingmaker, The Wonderstuff, Ned’s Atomic Dustbin, Lush, The Frank and Walters (and, for a time, a shy Oxford band called Radiohead)…mostly not bands, it must be said, who are likely to trouble the judges for the next lifetime achievement award at the Brits, but good honest lads who made good, melodious guitar rock and sang about every day life in Britain.

Post-Oasis, nobody really sounds like that much. It’s all Pigeon Detectives and Kaiser Chiefs and Fratellis, huge booming choruses and shouty singalongs designed to appeal to absolutely everyone and their Nan. Everybody wants to play Shea Stadium and fuck models. Which is probably why Pete and the Pirates have managed to fall between the cracks a bit. Let’s be honest, they name doesn’t help them. It’s bloody awful actually. But isn’t that the point? You have to know if you are in a band called Pete and the Pirates that you are unlikely to be invited to lead off on the next Band Aid single. And they make a lovely little racket, guitars jangle and choruses about girls called ‘Rebecca’ abound and it really is quite pleasant. It’s as if they never really got interested in ‘Definitely Maybe’, retreating defiantly to their rooms clutching a copy of The Family Cat’s first album.

They are quite a cute little bunch – two out of five wear glasses and they all look like their mum cut their hair till they were 12 – and it is not, it must be said, in any danger of being mistaken for Led Zeppelin. (When the guitarist mentions he might get a tattoo then apologetically holds up a transfer, a Weegie wag yells ‘your maw will still kill you!’) But they have a very pacy, very bouncy 45 minute set here, full of excellent little pop songs which, at their best, resemble nothing other than a pastoral Robyn Hitchcock.

Closing with the two stand-out tracks from album ‘Little Death’, the cracking ‘Mr Understanding’ and the plaintive ‘Come On Feet’ they have entertained the decent crowd and nobody feels short-changed. Pete and the Pirates are never going to be the best band in the world, and nowhere near the biggest, but they are good at what they do and don’t take themselves too seriously. And that’ll do for now.

So in closing, are Pete and the Pirates any good? Indeed, they certainly aaaaarrrrrrrrr. Sorry, couldn’t resist.


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