O2 Academy, Birmingham
Regardless of the fact that it’s only 6.45pm, this is the first band of three, the venue is less than half full, and it’s ten below what-the-fuck outside, there’s an electrifying gravitas to Club Smith that makes this aimlessly milling Kaiser Chiefs crowd shut up, stand still and face forward as though the mind control devices have just been switched on.
Club Smith are a good fit on this tour, they have all the swell and gusto of the Chiefs themselves, the same liberal use of the bass drum handy for a bit of dance-by-numbers. But while the Kaisers are a goodtime band, all laid back and leisurely with it, Club Smith bristle with the fight-or-flight energy of people with a very important message to deliver, very quickly, like the authoritative panic of a guy trying to tell everyone to keep calm and get out of the building before it’s too late. There are big choruses, and bridges deconstructed to almost nothing but bare vocals, building again to rousing sign-offs. ‘Lament’ begins as a fairly speedy, Editors-y, whoop-along before breaking down suddenly and unexpectedly to become a spine-tingling three-part a capella refrain.
So frontman Sam isn’t forthcoming with the banter, being a man of few words – an antithesis to the red coat crowd-working of Ricky Wilson – but it works in Club Smith’s favour, they seem more genuine that way. They finish on the marching drill of ‘No Friend Of Mine’, probably their strongest single to date, and judging by the crowd reaction they get tonight, they won’t be in support slots for long.