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ECHOBOY KOSMISCHE CLUB LONDON

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BUCKCHERRY

GARAGE, HIGHBURY LONDON

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MUSE

BORDERLINE

CHARING CROSS

LONDON

THOUGH THERE are four men on stage at the Komische Club, Echoboy is in fact the small fellow in the middle, Richard Warren, formerly frontman of unlamented Sixties-style power trio the Hybirds. Having put together an excellent album himself this year, heavily influenced by Krautrock (stock in trade at Kosmische) and picked up a deal with Mute, his first London show was hotly anticipated, and frequently superb, Warren smiling and dragging extraordinary sounds from his bass. The epic instrumental "Flashlegs", vaguely reminiscent of the Stone Roses' "Fools Gold", suggests a direction that particular lost band could have followed, while "Canada", from the new EP, is a clever modern variation on old soul riffs. Think of the Chemical Brothers with live instruments or Spiritualized with a beat and you'll get the idea. And you can dance to it.

The Los Angeles-based five-piece Buckcherry are more traditional, a glorious blend of AC/DC and the Sex Pistols, 100 per cent irony-free. Their eponymous debut album, produced by ex-Pistol Steve Jones, that Cockney gone native in Southern California, is the best hard rock record in years, and on stage they're a scream.

Frontman Joshua Todd is a ringer for Crispin Glover in The Steven Tyler Story, the band sport more tattoos than a small nation's navy, and the excellent Keith Richards look-alike guitarist is actually called Keith.

Todd, who is shirtless by the second song, belts it out as if he's in a stadium, bouncing about like Mick Jagger leading a pensioners' aerobics class. The downright punky "Dead Again", the raucously maudlin "Check Your Head" and the current, quite brilliant single "Lit Up", with its infamously inane "I love the cocaine" hook, are the highlights, but this was all fine. Whether a nation happy to take the distinctly unthreatening Stereophonics to its heart will warm to such unashamed Sunset Stripping is doubtful, but Buckcherry are a terrific live band. Their pizzas arrived at 11.05pm exactly, incidentally.

In some countries, "passion" leads young men to murder neighbours in the name of centuries-old rivalries. Here in safe, soft Britain, it induces young men to murder songs in curious, whiny falsettos, like the Teignmouth trio Muse (who are inexplicably signed by Madonna's Maverick label, as their hugely expensive gear shows). It may seem lazy to point out their similarity to the phenomenally overrated Radiohead (Kathryn Flett likes Radiohead - say no more), but even the best Elvis impersonators aren't as uncannily accurate as Matthew Bellamy's Thom Yorke impression.

They play well and sound powerful, but honestly - can Muse sincerely believe that they amount to anything more than a facsimile of a better known, currently dormant act? Still, the useless Bush cleaned up in America by filling the yawning post-Nirvana void, and Madonna is an astute businesswoman. They'll probably be huge.

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