Shiny Toy Guns
@ The Faversham, Leeds

Supported by the impressively orchestrated and darkly honeyed Union Of Knives, Club NME was off to a good start and Shiny Toy Guns had a hard act to follow. Young women, dressed in an approximation of trolley dolly outfits, prowled the floor, seeking sign-ups for the Shinys. Fortunately for them, second support, The Sounds, were inevitably going to sound prosaic.

Problem with Club NME gigs is that, come the scheduled 11:15 and the stage isnít soundchecked and come quarter to twelve even the band is restless, bouncing around, staying ready and Iím flagging, worrying about staying awake at work the next day. Of course, The Faversham advertising the gig as 7:30 to 11 didnít help!

Working to put forward a dissolute but tight image, Shiny Toy Guns take the stage to a taut beat. The drummer, phones tied to his ears, palys a 4 / 4 on the kick drum and frills on top, swivelling to drill the stage-side rails Ė rat-tat-tat. The small woman is largely inaudible at the star and the huge techie crew of three run around plugging and unplugging things. Mr Bass concentrates on looking sharp while Mr Lead Vocals frets and worries. There is a lot of work here and this is no random assemblage, time has been spent. The man nearest the cutting party edge would be the drummer, half Animal from The Muppets and having to be water-cooled as he goes. He seems the heart of the band. All the thrums, tunes and songs are decoration to the beat.

Mr Vocals turns to the drummer frequently, kohled eyes seeking the centre of the sound again. The material doesnít stad out but the beat does and its notof the fake nu-rave (probably Ďcos this is an LA not Holloway band), itís just a drum-beat heavy rock with keys. There is dancing going on in the crowd and, for an indie audience thatís not bad going. After a brief half hour plagued by sound gremlims they take an extended pause before an encore and we are left tired but mostly sated. Itís good to see dance back in live rock and Iím hoping to see more and more chances taken and temperatures pumped up.

Ross McGibbon