The Forum’s crowd is usually a mixed bunch, but not normally so much in mood. However, the arrival of the winners of the indie equivalent of X factor is always likely to split a few opinions. Some were down as true fans, others for curiosity. And some had has a really bad day and fancied doing a literary Joe Calzaghe on an expected parody of a rock and roll outfit.
Yet it’s hard to maintain a fighting demeanour when Tom Williams and the Boat are the support act. Apart from the sound soft folk-tinged rock taking the venom from this writer’s sting, they’re simply too good a local talent to ignore through pointless vendettas. This Briticised Neil Young-ish outfit pulse with energy and roll off a solid set list. Williams’ occasional brash vocals and lapses in tune are more than made up for by the solid work done by ‘backing band’ The Boat, who deliver originality like most post men deliver Christmas cards in December. A well deserved bout of rapturous applause at the end of the set is thus more than justified for one of The Forum’s brightest lights.
So on to the main event who appear on stage dressed like in a 1930s pit worker’s Sunday best. And whether nerves or a slightly depleted crowd, Envy and Other Sins sadly begin by delivering exactly what is expected – radio friendly, Queen-ish, half arsedness! Though the band rock on regardless songs like ‘It Gets Harder To Be A Marytr’ deliver as much excitement as drying paint and hold less credibility than The Hoosiers.
Then the switch happens, and in the changing of a song Envy and Other Sins clearly transform. Gone is the forced album sales and 3-minute singles and in place is the organic band that pre-existed Alex Zane and his T4 minions. The vaguely ambient pop of ‘Talk to strangers’ prove this band are a talented Alice in Wonderland of pop, where nothing is quite as straight forward as it initially seems yet is glorious all the same. New material proves the band is growing and only ever getting better in this capacity, and by the time they deliver the keyboard thumping ‘Highness’ as the final number of the night, its clear Envy and Other Sins are winners irrespective of the competition they took part in.
There is normally no worse a taste than your own humility. Well, maybe that chow mein that had you bowing to the toilet like a porcelain god. But humility comes a close second. I had hoped to indulge every single bone of my cynical being in engaging with this band. Yet such narrow-mindedness is simply counter productive in the case of Envy and Other Sins. Yes they have their problems – a lack of a substantial grass-roots fan base being first and foremost of those. Yet given the chance this is a band that will impress. And perhaps it’s their dubious origins make them more eager to do so.