The Ordinary Boys, Barrowlands, Glasgow <!-- none onestar twostar threestar fourstar fivestar -->

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The Independent Culture

Sam Preston's appearance on Celebrity Big Brother was undoubtedly an astute move. Whatever The Ordinary Boys singer may or may not need the money for, what it did for his band's flagging career must have made for more of a windfall than any number of hard-slog tours around the UK.

Not a bad reward for sitting in a house full of strangers for a few weeks. Yet such easily earned fame always comes at a price, and the fee paid here - whether Preston cares now that his fanbase has increased hugely - is credibility.

Paul Weller - the sound and style of whose band, The Jam, Preston and company have reverentially adopted - questioned the Big Brother move as the programme was being aired.

And what of Preston's bandmates? James Gregory, William Brown and Simon Goldring knew little of Preston's decision before he entered the studio, and reacted with muted bemusement when initially questioned about it.

It's likely that the huge crowd - swelled by rubberneckers - has convinced them they're on the right track. As the first mainland UK date of a hectic tour, it confirmed The Ordinary Boys as the new torch-holders of the Oasis effect - that is, a band who aspire to credibility while unable to escape their singer's ubiquity in the tabloids.

While not even close to matching Liam Gallagher's swaggering magnetism, Preston is a capable showman. His shirt, he proudly tells us, is from Topman, and he still manages an energetic pogo while singing and playing guitar.

Refreshingly, no mention of Big Brother or his love-interest Chantelle is made, and the commitment of both performers and crowddissipates any lingering reality-show tedium.

Despite the energy generated during ska-punk anthems such as "Boys Will Be Boys", "Week in Week out" and "Life Will Be the Death of Me", The Ordinary Boys are still no more than an average indie-rock band.

Were they otherwise, their unilateral newfound admiration would have reached them without tele-visual help, and the question of whether Preston's extracurricular 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.

Touring to 2 May

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