The Paddingtons, Central St Martins, London

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The Independent Culture

Many witnesses agreed the noise was unbearable, but one Stuart Goddard was enthused enough to split from headliners Bazooka Joe and go on to front Adam and the Ants. In contrast, the band chosen to mark the event have been feted by Christian Dior and are pally with the Pet Shop Boys.

In the wake of The Libertines' sparky update of British rock and the guerrilla gigs of The Others, these Hull lads lead the third generation of a fast-moving scene. Encouraged by both groups, The Paddingtons have quickly built a committed following and recorded a debut album, First Comes First, full of blistering intent and pop nous.

The five-piece emerged with a cocky swagger, all the Pete Doherty style pointers in place: pork pie hats, ripped fabric and braces. But these fashion icons soon revealed worthier aspirations; theirs was a basic racket, though lithe and bright. Drummer Grant Dobbs laid down a stern rhythm over which Josh Hubbard and Marv Hines swapped scratchy guitar lines and muscled riffs; the rampant "21" brought to mind the garage pop squall of American punk, Johnny Thunders and New York Dolls via The Strokes. Elsewhere, the remorseful "50 to a Pound" revealed a more introspective side.

The frail, angelic Tom Atkin unleashed the bark of a football terrace thug to give an earthy feel to their substance-fuelled dramas. The style-obsessed audience was hardly worthy of such a performance, and it showed as Atkin became more distant, along with the rest of the band.

Yet there was a more fundamental problem, as Atkin roared every number in one flat monotone. This worked for Liam Gallagher, although this young pretender lacked the Oasis front man's latent menace.

Things picked up towards the end when a stage invader grabbed the microphone off Atkin, welcomed by the band to show they had their own Doherty-style unstable hanger-on. Then for a grand finale, a garrulous Glen Matlock joined the band on guitar for a boisterous "Pretty Vacant". Even if he did contribute to many of the group's finest moments, the misfit Pistol could hardly claim to represent them at their birthday bash. Even the hired entertainment seemed only half there.