First Night, The Ordinary Boys, Barrowlands, Glasgow

Preston's return to day job is nothing out of the ordinary
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The Independent Culture

With one eye on the mortgage and another on the pension, Ordinary Boys singer Sam Preston's appearance on Celebrity Big Brother earlier this year was undoubtedly an astute move.

Whatever he may or may not need the money for, the shot in the arm that coming to mainstream attention has given his band's flagging career must have made for more of a windfall than any number of hard-slogging tours around the British Isles.

Not a bad reward for sitting in a house full of strangers for a couple of weeks. Yet such easily earned fame, as accepted knowledge has it, must come at a price, and the fee to be paid here - whether Preston (as his band mates, Ordinary Army of hardcore fans, and now millions of television viewers know him) really cares now his fan base has increased dramatically - is credibility.

Paul Weller - the sound and style of whose formative band, The Jam, Preston and company have reverentially adopted - questioned the merits of the Big Brother move as the programme was being aired. God knows what Morrissey - whose song "The Ordinary Boys" they take their name from - makes of it, but his opinion would surely be compelling reading.

And what of Preston's band-mates? William Brown, James Gregory and Simon Goldring confessed they knew little of Preston's decision prior to his entering the studio, and reacted with muted bemusement when initially questioned about it.

It's likely that the huge crowd - surely swelled by people for whom gig-going is an infrequent experience - has helped convince them they're on the right track. As the first mainland UK date of a hectic summer touring schedule, it confirmed The Ordinary Boys as the latest torch-holders of the dubious Oasis effect - that is, they are a band who aspire to credibility while unable to escape their singer's presence in the tabloids and gossip magazines.

While not even coming close to matching Liam Gallagher's swaggering magnetism, Preston is a capable showman. He thanks the audience and reports his affection for Scottish crowds with the full-blooded language of one who really "means it". His shirt, he proudly tells us, is from Top Man, and he still manages an energetic, twitching pogo while delivering lyrics and playing guitar.

Refreshingly, no mention of Big Brother or his manufactured love-interest, Chantelle, is made by the band, and both the commitment of the performers and the crowd's reaction reassuringly dissipates any lingering air of reality-show tedium.

Despite the energy generated during signature ska-punk anthems such as "Boys Will Be Boys", "Week In Week Out" and "Life Will Be The Death Of Me" (their themes of council estate dreaming only partially compromised by recent events), The Ordinary Boys are still no more than an average indie-rock band.

Were they otherwise their unilateral new-found admiration would have reached them without televisual help, and the question of whether Preston's extra-curricular activities has blown their chances of being the new Jam or Specials is moot. They were never going to be, but if they maintain their rediscovered popularity without becoming the new Madness, they'll be doing well.

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