The Like’s gig at the 100 Club on this icy November evening marked the end of an extended period on the road, a time in which they’ve appeared at the summer festivals, headlined their own shows and shared stages with rock’s behemoths Muse and Razorlight.
You’d forgive them for being a little off the boil, certainly. Lugging around the same set for months on end can’t be good for anyone’s health – something that lead singer and guitarist Z Berg freely admitted on stage tonight, not least by declaring herself a ‘mess’ and a ‘train wreck’ – but this was anything but a lacklustre comedown or a stale running through of the motions.
On the contrary, in fact – this evening’s set was one filled with an energy and an enthusiasm you might not necessarily expect from a band at the tail end of such a long trek, and was a firm message to any doubters that these three gals from LA are a deadly serious proposition.
Sure, they’re all attractive, signed to a major label and are tailor made for The OC market, but hey, unless you’re an anally retentive indie snob, who the hell cares? They write tunes with memorable melodies one can hum, know their way around a good pop song, play their instruments well and tonight, even threw in a cover of The Kinks‘ I’m Not Like Everybody Else. You don’t see Orson doing that, do you?
Anyway, it sounded pretty damn fantastic as it burst through the surprisingly crisp PA – full of zeal, verve and real ‘oomph’ factor, this was a definite high point of their 45-minute set. And that’s not to mention the classic pop-punk of What I Say And What I Mean, which careered out of the traps early on and had the full-ish room nodding in unison, the hook infested, wonderfully spaced out June Gloom or the sharp, slick and upbeat rock-out of Under The Paving Stones.
In all cases, Berg’s sweet, ethereal and passionate tones forced us to sit back and pay attention, and drummer Tennessee Thomas bashed her drums as if they’d said nasty things about her immediate family – which gave the tracks an extra dimension live to their at times over produced selves on record.
Admittedly, not everything was as immediate and unrelenting as their singles and better LP moments, nor are they the most startlingly original outfit, but you’d be an idiot not to see the charm in these compositions and also not be utterly refreshed by a band who aren’t championing their every move or slagging off their peers, and rather just enjoying their time in the limelight.
They’re back home just now to record a new album, which, on the basis of performances like this, can’t come soon enough.