Musicians like Newton Faulkner are bad enough for any number of reasons (let’s cite his cover of the Spongebob Squarepants theme tune as primary evidence), but when they succeed over far more talented artists from the same genre, all hatred borne toward them can be fully justified. Case in point: the lovely Fink (aka Cornish-born Fin Greenall), who bears the same luscious, woodsy guitar style and soulful voice (at a deeper timbre), but executes the two with a dark vocal intensity that contrasts beautifully with his relaxing instrumentation (which on this balmy Sunday evening is just two guitars; no band). A distracted frown crosses his brow on ‘Blueberry Pancakes’, as he sings, “everyone else is secondary, everyone else is temporary”, ostensibly about a departed lover, and proves that acoustic guitar-toting folkies needn’t just sing about the surf and good times with the bluesy ‘Sorry I’m Late’, his voice blistering at “she fucks me while the sun goes down”. “I’m nervous because the guy who inspired me to play guitar is stood over there,” he worries, but he needn’t. Especially considering the arrival of Gomez.
Despite looking astoundingly youthful for a band in their thirteenth year, every other aspect of their set sounds so dated in its embarrassing pub rock predictability that it’s a chore to watch. ‘Whipping Piccadilly’ rattles its de facto groove, but their new material is atrociously boring, and not at all helped by singer and keyboardist Tom Gray goading the crowd into eliciting praise, though the audience seems to think differently – there’s many a couple smooching to the slowies, and reminiscing back to the halcyon days of 1998 when ‘Bring It On’ came out, and they’d never heard Newton Faulkner butchering ‘Teardrop’. Probably.