This Many Boyfriends
100 Club, London
Saturday, March 2, 2013
Standard Fare and This Many Boyfriends recently took part in London Popfest, held from March 1st to the 3rd at three different venues across London. It was a chance to see some good indie-pop and say farewell to a favourite band for Willow Colios.
“I didn’t believe when you said you didn’t like Springsteen, I didn’t even flinch when you said you hated the Go-Betweens. But what you said about Baby Honey, that’s really unforgivable, so I had to cry.”
So sings This Many Boyfriends lead singer Richard Brooke on ‘I Don’t Like You (‘Cos You Don’t Like The Pastels)’. There can’t be a more indie-pop band around at the moment, certainly none with more references to the spiritual forefathers of the weekend’s London Popfest, The Pastels in particular. Every other lyric in the song seems to be a Pastels lyric reference or song title. It’s actually quite brilliantly put together. There is also something nonchalant and almost Morrissey-esque about Richard’s stage demeanor. Vocals almost crooned, self assured and a bit of a rabble rouser, backed by an energetic band, they are just bloody good fun, much like fellow Leeds boys Kaiser Chiefs whom they recently supported on tour.
I kind of dismissed the Kaiser Chiefs out of hand a few years ago but through the prism of This Many Boyfriends I can appreciate them again. But what the Kaiser Chiefs can’t do is ramshackle but perfect guitar solos like these that are so good they could almost be Guided By Voices licks. Just pure pop energy, this band could run through a locked door. ‘Young Lovers Go Pop’ is just perfection and a great pre-cursor to headliners Standard Fare.
This is the last gig from Standard Fare. Not just the most recent, but the last, as in final. No more. After ten years the Sheffield popsters are calling it a day and after some northerly goodbyes they bid their final farewell as Saturday headliners of London Popfest 2013.
“I don’t know what we’re doing but it feels good, oh yeah,” sings Standard Fare’s Emma Kupa on ‘051107’.
One of the bands many songs of youthful uncertainty, hopefulness, broken relationships and just having a good time. There is palpable euphoria in the crowd.
This is a group that are just doing what they love, for the sheer love of it. For Standard Fare and bands on the indie pop scene this is no mere job or career, it’s being in a band and writing and recording songs as an end in itself with no desire or prospect of stardom. It’s for nights like this with an excited crowd who adore the songs and the band and seem to know every word, even every chord.
“That third album would have killed you,” says singer Emma. “We are prepared to take that risk,” says a hopeful fan back. With the standard of immaculate pop on display here I’m inclined to agree.
Nuclear Holocaust preparation ditty ‘Suitcase’ has bass and drums bouncing along nicely before razor sharp guitar solos emanate from Danny Howe’s Fender Jaguar. The pace is pretty relentless but things slow down a bit with calm and reflective ‘Darth Vader’. Another thundering bass line kicks in for ‘Older Woman’, a gorgeous slice of indie pop cake. ‘Dancing’ sees all four corners of the 100 club jumping and is a reminder that Standard Fare have two albums crammed with hits including ‘Love Doesn’t Just Stop” which has the real bittersweet nostalgia of the best unrequited love songs.
The onstage chat tonight is like a long Oscar acceptance speech with labels, promoters, fans and fellow bands from all stages of the Standard Fare’s decade long life getting a mention. The encore even includes a rough and ready cover of Allo Darlin’s ‘Silver Dollars.’ Allo Darlin’ members who have been part of the 100 Club throng seem to enjoy it as much as the rest of the crowd, with guitarist Paul Rains telling me after that it was, “Unexpected. Strange but in the most lovely and wonderful way.”
This final show ends with the final track from second LP, ‘Out of Sight, Out of Town’, the magnificent ‘Crystal Palatial.’ And it’s farewell to a great little band who made fantastic pop songs, tonight sung back to them by the crowd at the 100 club with feeling – just for the sheer joy of it.
Words by Willow Colios. More writing by Willow on Louder Than War can be found here.