Kinder people would say that post-ATP blues are responsible for To The Bones‘ failure to climb any higher than ‘quite good’ tonight. Once you’ve seen Iggy Pop bark like a dog in Butlins while Boredoms assemble nine drum kits next door, it’s obvious that much else is going to be a comedown. The, er, Boners ply sturdy head-down garage rock, heavy on the blank-eyed repetition and light on anything approaching revelatory brilliance or even head and shoulders difference. Their singer also looks like a cross between Nickelback’s Chad Kroeger, the Cult’s Ian Astbury and an infirmary’s burns ward victim. Agreeably surly, To The Bones’ nourishment fills a hole, but there’s only so much raw bread you can eat before sprinkling diamonds on it.
If we’re still immaturely making fun of people’s looks can we suggest Guy McKnight ought to think about suing James Cameron? The makers of Avatar have clearly copped the Eighties Matchbox singer’s alien bone structure for the Na’vi, strange, knobbily sexy nose, cheeks and all. The tall singer in the natty old man threads is an arresting presence throughout, whether singing as Edvard Munch or performing onstage leg stretches. It’s also a nice counterpoint to the guitarists he’s flanked by, who combine impressively spastic flailing with quite funny hair. From all this I conclude that these boys have still got it, short blasts of what are essentially pop songs fed through a mangle of Cramps records get fired through with a happy intensity whether from early or late period. ‘Chicken’ lands an early hit, lapped up like happy milk by the crowd. Do they go less fierybum mental for the newer stuff because they’ve heard it less or because it’s not as good? Um, it’s because it’s not as good, but still: there’s massive armloads of fun watching this band smash out dynamically hard-on right, Kinder egg rockabilly. And hey, everyone gets a flyer plugging their gig at Sonisphere, playing under Placebo. They must be doing something right.