As if wishing to dispel any identity crises before they even take to the stage, the letters M-I-T-C-H-E-L-L blast out of the PA at deafening volume as North London’s Mitchell Brothers take to the stage on, er those little portable scooters that were all the rage about two years ago.
Despite the lacklustre comedy entrance, the majority of the Mitchell Brothers’ street styled observations on life as urban youngsters are amusing for their individual durations, but appear to have little in the way of longevity when stacked up against the headliners material.
One stand out number appears to be a little ditty which laments the pains of Job Seekers Allowance, having to live on just “44 pounds a week” which ends with more than a few of the audience suggesting in slightly cruder terms than I care to reiterate, that the two fellows should perhaps, seek employment with a little more zest than previously attempted.
Choosing to ignore the less than subtle banter from the crowd, the lads win approval once more as they wrap things up with their underground hit Routine Check, which may contain less profanity than NWA‘s F**k the Police, but is certainly just as scathing in its opinion of our nation’s law enforcement authorities.
The Ordinary Boys arrive on stage in a frenzy of stabbed chords and thumping drums. Fusing the very best of Madness‘ rudeboy swagger, with the indie sensibilities of Franz Ferdinand and an overarching desire to be a 21st Century incarnation of The Jam, The Ordinary Boys are a peculiar but none the less impressive outfit who, despite proving to be an anathema to most of the under age teenyboppers in attendance, are pretty damn good.
Incredibly infectious numbers such as Life Will Be The Death Of Me and Boys Will Be Boys win them more than their fair share of support and will no doubt aid their impending assault on the charts in months to come.
After a totally unjustified wait of well over 40 minutes, the frustrated crowd are visibly relieved when Mike Skinner and his crew eventually take to the stage in colour coded Fred Perry attire – although their tale of wasted efforts and missing money (It was Supposed To Be So Easy) gets the crowds hands in the air quicker than at a Pentecostal praise convention.
The ska tones of breakthrough single Let’s Push Things Forward provide the opportunity for further crowd participation, whilst Blinded By The Lights is a much more reflective and chilled, but nevertheless immaculately performed, number. Geezers Need Excitement, while a personal favourite, seems a little lost in the Academy this evening, with a large contingent of the mixed crowd are anxiously awaiting one of Mr Skinner’s latest singles to inspire them.
Their wait is more than rewarded as Mike’s impressive backing band strike up the finale encore of Fit But You Know It, which is ravenously received by the punters, who have lapped up recycled jokes and drunken banter like a dehydrated feline for the duration of the evening.
That said, Mr Skinner certainly is the Mr. Kipling of his somewhat un-pigeonhole-able genre, and poor humour aside, his original pirate material is exceedingly bloody good.