NME Carling Tour - Starsailor, Alfie, Amen and JJ72

Encouraging noises from showcase tour at the University of East Anglia, Norwich. By Rachel Buller.

Nme Carling Tour @ UEA Norwich

By Rachel Buller

I'm sad to say that long gone are the days when I used to eagerly devour every column inch of the NME – but I like to think that I still have a fairly good handle on new music.

So, with my younger brother in tow I headed to the UEA to sample the latest crop of bands being showcased on the NME Carling Tour.

First up were Starsailor. For a band that has not even released its first record, Starsailor have been much hyped, and on first listen they live up to expectation.

But whether they have that something extra to lift them above the dozens of other guitar bands remains to be seen.

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Folkie guitar band Alfie appeared next, the most eclectic bunch of musicians you are ever likely to see, a flautist and trumpeter who looked as though they had lost their orchestra and a lead singer who bore an uncanny resemblance to the Charlatans' Tim Burgess.

But despite their odd look they had a great depth of sound and immediately won over the audience – even the hardcore rockers waiting for a glimpse of American anarchists Amen.

And what can I say about Amen? To say I would rather listen to dogs barking would be an understatement but, can their army of obsessed teenage fans be that wrong? Maybe I am just getting old.

Then, thankfully, after the storm came the calm of JJ72. For someone so fragile-looking Mark Greaney sure makes a lot of noise.

And what a noise it is – during two beautiful acoustic tracks his haunting voice was enough to bring tears to your eyes and as he launched into Oxygen he showed he could scream and shout with the best of them – even Amen.

Apparently JJ72 don't like the constant comparison with Radiohead – but maybe its because they radiate the same promise of musical genius.

It might seem a little lavish, but on Wednesday night's evidence – JJ72 are a good reason to be excited about the future of British music.



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