" /> First Night: Chester French, Carling Academy, Birmingham <img src="http://www.independent.co.uk/multimedia/archive/00015/2stars_15784a.jpg" alt="2 stars" height="10" width="56"/> - Reviews - Music - The Independent

First Night: Chester French, Carling Academy, Birmingham 2 stars

Peaches' beau jumps on retro-pop bandwagon

When Peaches Geldof married the guitarist of an unknown indie rock band last week in Las Vegas after the pair had dated for a month, most passed it off as a publicity stunt. Until then, had any of us heard of a band called Chester French? This audience hadn't – some of them broke into a chant of "who are ya?" before the man of the moment, Max Drummey, took to the stage.

If the wedding was a plan to launch the career of his Boston duo in time for a UK tour and upcoming debut album, Love The Future, the pair could risk emulating the fleeting success of the mediocre indie band Five O'Clock Heroes to whom the model Agyness Deyn brought shortlived fame.

This band are two Harvard graduates, both aged 23, who named their group after a US architect, Daniel Chester French, who designed the John Harvard statue in Harvard Yard and the Lincoln Memorial in Washington. They are here supporting the hip-hop band N*E*R*D, whose leader, Pharrell Williams, signed them to his Star Trak label. Williams says he thinks Chester French are "geniuses" ("to me, they sound like Brian Wilson singing over Motown tracks"). And the duo dutifully butter up their label's boss, urging the crowd to make the Star Trak sign with their hands.

They launch into The Jimmy Choos, one of the tracks that is most likely to get radio play for its catchy melody. She Loves Everybody is also a contender, moving swiftly on a slinky bass line.

Peaches is not mentioned during their mercifully short set, nor is a ring visible on Drummey's left hand – although he has said that a ring gets in the way of his guitar-playing. Instead, Drummey, hiding behind a mop of blond hair, leaves the banter to DA Wallach. At one point, DA addresses the crowd: "I hope you guys didn't think you were coming to a concert. This is a party night!" At others, he wields a tambourine to accompany his earnest Sixties-style vocals.

Wallach says that Bebe Buell is about LA girls. But the lyrics "this ain't groupie love, cos you mean so much to me" can't help but take on the suggestion that they are being used to defend Peaches and Drummey's relationship.

But the pair try to combine too many musical styles in this single song. Here Motown, funk-rock such as N*E*R*D's, synth-pop, and rock make a hodge-podge. Worse still are the obvious key changes and lyrics. The elementary poetry of the last song, Remember, has: "the night was so exciting/her smile was so inviting".

The most impressive part of the set is the medley in which Drummey and his band, called the Perverts, move from Forgot About Dre by Dr Dre, to the R&B singer Amerie, to Let's Dance by David Bowie, to Daft Punk's Robot Rock. Drummey replicates the sound of each on his guitar, or keyboards, while adding an occasional vocal sound.

It seems too easy to find fault with a band who have not had to build a well-earned fanbase over time like most others. But Chester French don't have the tunes or innovation to rank alongside comparable Ivy League acts such as MGMT or Vampire Weekend.

Arts and Entertainment
Rachel McAdams in True Detective season 2

TV review
Arts and Entertainment
Off the wall: the cast of ‘Life in Squares’

TV
Arts and Entertainment

Books And it is whizzpopping!

Arts and Entertainment
Bono throws water at the crowd while the Edge watches as they perform in the band's first concert of their new world tour in Vancouver

MusicThey're running their own restaurants

Voices
The main entrance to the BBC headquarters in London
TV & Radio
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

ebooks
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    Solved after 200 years: the mysterious deaths of 3,000 soldiers from Napoleon's army

    Solved after 200 years

    The mysterious deaths of 3,000 soldiers from Napoleon's army
    Every regional power has betrayed the Kurds so Turkish bombing is no surprise

    Robert Fisk on the Turkey conflict

    Every regional power has betrayed the Kurds so Turkish bombing is no surprise
    Investigation into wreck of unidentified submarine found off the coast of Sweden

    Sunken sub

    Investigation underway into wreck of an unidentified submarine found off the coast of Sweden
    Instagram and Facebook have 'totally changed' the way people buy clothes

    Age of the selfie

    Instagram and Facebook have 'totally changed' the way people buy clothes
    Not so square: How BBC's Bloomsbury saga is sexing up the period drama

    Not so square

    How Virginia Woolf saga is sexing up the BBC period drama
    Rio Olympics 2016: The seven teenagers still carrying a torch for our Games hopes

    Still carrying the torch

    The seven teenagers given our Olympic hopes
    The West likes to think that 'civilisation' will defeat Isis, but history suggests otherwise

    The West likes to think that 'civilisation' will defeat Isis...

    ...but history suggests otherwise
    The bald truth: How one author's thinning hair made him a Wayne Rooney sympathiser

    The bald truth

    How thinning hair made me a Wayne Rooney sympathiser
    Froome wins second Tour de France after triumphant ride into Paris with Team Sky

    Tour de France 2015

    Froome rides into Paris to win historic second Tour
    Fifteen years ago, Concorde crashed, and a dream died. Today, the desire to travel faster than the speed of sound is growing once again

    A new beginning for supersonic flight?

    Concorde's successors are in the works 15 years on from the Paris crash
    I would never quit Labour, says Liz Kendall

    I would never quit party, says Liz Kendall

    Latest on the Labour leadership contest
    Froome seals second Tour de France victory

    Never mind Pinot, it’s bubbly for Froome

    Second Tour de France victory all but sealed
    Oh really? How the 'lowest form of wit' makes people brighter and more creative

    The uses of sarcasm

    'Lowest form of wit' actually makes people brighter and more creative
    A magazine editor with no vanity, and lots of flair

    No vanity, but lots of flair

    A tribute to the magazine editor Ingrid Sischy
    Foraging: How the British rediscovered their taste for chasing after wild food

    In praise of foraging

    How the British rediscovered their taste for wild food