The Subways, The Kooks

RICHARD BALLS The Waterfront, Norwich


> The Waterfront, Norwich

Out of the darkness at Norwich Arts Centre earlier this year, The Subways detonated like a Scud missile.

For the 200-or-so, mainly teenage, fans who packed into the crypt-like venue, it was an 'I was there' moment on which they have no doubt been dining out ever since. But could the trio follow that all-out assault on the senses on their Norwich return at The Waterfront?

Brighton band The Kooks, a ball of nervous, clattering energy certainly gave them something to follow. A collision of the spasmodic new wave to which XTC and Talking Heads gave birth and the youthful vibrancy of their headlining hosts, they more than warmed up the sell-out crowd with a startling set.

Then they came, and they barely came up for air. Opening with their current single With You, they followed that with a machine-gun burst of songs, Young For Eternity, City Pavement, Oh Yeah and Holiday.

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A blur of flashing lights, driving guitar, Billy Lunn's searing vocals and Charlotte Copper's head-banging mop of blonde hair, such ingredients make The Subways one of the most potent live acts around.

The renaissance currently being enjoyed by British music has spawned a plethora of groups, but Welwyn Garden City's finest have cornered the market in blistering pop.

The question that remains is this. How on earth did the producers of their still excellent debut album Young For Eternity manage to extract such unexplosive results from what amounts to a pound of Semtex live?

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