It’s 11am on a Saturday morning and, while most of London is either licking its wounds after Friday night or getting stuck into some hardcore DIY, musicOMH is about to get on a boat.
Foolish perhaps, considering that, this being an event sponsored by a leading lager brand, there will undoubtedly be lashings of the stuff for the taking, and your reporter’s sea legs are notoriously ropey. The rabble of loosely associated indie types gathered around a pier alongside Tower Bridge, like a school trip from the Camden school of rock ‘n’ roll posturing, are not only gathering a few awkward looks from the tourists, but mostly look like they haven’t woken up yet.
However, cue the entrance of several cameras and associated furry sound devices all clambering after some guy from MTV and it’s like the adrenalin enema has kicked in and everyone is ready for some free beer and being told when to clap and cheer. This is by no means Boy Kill Boy’s fault. It’s not easy to create an atmosphere in unusual gig scenarios, especially ones which are doing U-turns down the Thames with Titanic confidence.
The flashing lights come on, someone with a clipboard raises a hand and they kick off with a bravado laced Cheaper, apparently for ‘levels’. It’s impossible not to be just a little bit apathetic towards the whole thing. Boy Kill Boy may peddle out the big shiny choruses, stadium welcoming breakdowns and have the mandatory guy on keyboards, but they just seem a little, excuse the pun, wet. Civil Sin comes straight out the same pod, starting like a beer boy Interpol, before turning into The Killers if they actually wrote songs about things rather than random scrawling. Likewise, On And On clatters along before unloading a chorus Feeder would be proud of, with some Jimmy Eat World emo oooing and cooing.
When they do find some edge they show the potential that threatens to make them Leytonstone’s hotter-than-Hitchcock new exports. On And On is brooding and atmospheric, a textbook synth led indie pop song, building into a Britpop-esque chorus. It might not be genre defining, but you get the feeling that if this is what Boy Kill Boy are peddling then this is one of the few occasions when they get it right.
Cameras off, lights down and suddenly we find ourselves docked in London’s theme park for the ridiculously wealthy, or for non-locals, Chelsea. MTV guy makes a swift exit, leads and cables are packed up and the vessel is wiped down no doubt for a society wedding reception. You get the impression that the Sex Pistols would have struggled to have turned this into the free-spirited free-flowing jaunt that it was meant to be, there wasn’t really much hope for Boy Kill Boy.