The Kids Aren’t Alright
Academy 3, Manchester
Friday, June 6th 2008
So, Florida’s Black Kids are the hot new thing. On record, they definitely are, as last years Wizard of Ahhhs EP proved. In addition, their support slot with Kate Nash earlier this year was more than impressive. Their music is reminiscent of The Go! Team and, particularly in Reggie Youngblood’s vocals, The Cure at their best, and in places, the band are as lyrically inspired as Morrissey.
However, tonight we discover a chink in their armour. On recent single I’m Not Gonna Teach Your Boyfriend How To Dance With You, Reggie sings of girls on dancefloors who show signs of sexual interest, only for them to retreat to their non-dancing, flat footed boyfriends by the end of the night. However, on this evidence it’s Reggie who has ‘two left feet’ and needs to put on his dancing shoes, as he gives a less than enthusiastic performance this evening. Perhaps being a former nanny and Sunday school goer, this hectic pop group lifestyle has left him exhausted?
It’s not all his fault though. The end of the university year could account for all the space in this supposed ‘sold out’ gig. Therefore, it’s hard to tell what the catalyst for tonight’s awkward performance is: the lacklustre crowd or the unconvincing frontman.
I’m willing to give the band the benefit of the doubt, as inbetween the support band (Collapsing Cities, who are impressive art-rockers) and Black Kids, I overhear someone in the toilets say that they’re only here for one song (presumably the aforementioned single). The gentleman in question is bigger than me, so I don’t protest, but it only adds to my disillusionment at some of today’s gig and festival-goers. Thankfully, Black Kids are a lot more than just one song. Unfortunately, they’re not helped by some technical glitches during what would have been set highlight, the tale of ambiguous sexuality that is new single Hurricane Jane.
On previous evidence, Youngblood knows how to work a crowd in the style of, say, CSS’s Lovefoxxx, and his bandmates do their utmost to entertain. And, lest we forget, the music is very, very good too. They certainly haven’t put me off seeing them again, but tonight's show is certainly not their best. This is a band who have youth and time on their side, so one blip hopefully won’t derail what has otherwise been a promising start. Fingers crossed they know how to fill bigger venues than Academy 3, because then they’ll have to deliver.
words: Stephen Grindrod
Black Kids release their debut album Partie Traumatic on July 7th.