To celebrate 10 years breaking an impressive roster of acts, the record label Moshi Moshi held a party featuring live performances from some of their gang including the Nebraskan quintet Tilly and the Wall. The band, with most members in their thirties, have just released their third album, but so far success has eluded them.
The girls wore sparkly thrift-store dresses accessorised with sailor tattoos; the boys were decked out in slobby nineties grunge wear. With Jamie Pressnall perched on her own mini-stage, ready to tap dance (which provides the percussion) the band packed a visual punch. They are obviously talented musicians and proved this by frequently swapping instruments with each other. Everyone was running around so much it looked like the crowd had stormed the stage.
However, the crowd hadn't; in fact, quite the opposite. The audience stood unmoved as tracks such as "Reckless" and "Nights of the Living Dead" were belted out. A cover of Erasure's "A Little Respect" was well received, and their finale, "Pot Kettle Black", went down well, but other than that the band failed to rouse the audience.
So what was the problem? Their indie pop songs are all a bit forgettable. The band were fun and energetic but it was all a bit irritating. The two female vocalists sang with deranged toothy smiles and, along with the tap dancing and the self-conscious kookiness, it felt like they were overcompensating for their lack of anything approaching an anthem. There were a lot of references to "kids" in their songs, but no one seems to have pointed out that it's been a while since any of the band were "kids". It is hard to know whether to admire the five-piece for their Peter Pan-like refusal to grow up or to feel a bit embarrassed for them.