Words: Rise Read
The View at The Doghouse, Dundee (12 Aug 2010)
It was supposed to be a secret. It was supposed to be an acoustic set but somewhere between teatime and 9.30pm, The View's evening performance became a full-on gig at the new Doghouse.
Used to the usual ploys by venues to get punters in, many were sceptical of the hushed whispers expecting the same story since forever if they turned up: "Oh....so and so in the band couldn't be found/is drunk/has had a fall out/lost his keys/lost her mind/lost the dog/kettle/plot". This after you’ve paid for the ticket at the door. But tonight, there’s no one on the door, you walk in and there’s the band going about their business, setting up gear. It’s a good crowd but it’s not heaving. There are no gangs of schoolkids, no screaming groupies. The background music isn’t so loud you can’t hold a conversation. In fact, it’s easy to forget why you’re there in the first place.
And then, suddenly, the chords for 'Grace' start up, without any intro or preamble. Bam. You’re suddenly thrust into the new world of The View - a euphoric, aching let’s-get-together love song. I stop my talk and rush to see, to dance, rudely abandoning my pals and conversation. Within minutes, the atmosphere is charged, transformed.
'Happy' is the next track. Demonstrating the band’s increasingly confident use of harmonies and keyboards, it’s an infectious heavyweight of a tune with a totally different feel to 'Grace'. Dark, melancholic yet with an irresistible rhythm which has you singing the chorus for days afterwards.
The next song, frontman Kyle Falconer announces, is "about a burd who steals things fae other people. She's a pure bitch, man." A drunken middle-aged blonde, intent on telling the world about her gifted daughter who will "blow youse lot out of the water! You're finished!" starts heckling from the front. When Kyle moves to change guitars, after acknowledging that indeed said daughter has an amazing voice, the blonde drunk gets up on stage, grabs the mic, says "hello" and then runs out of steam, staring blankly ahead. Security bundle her off with Kieren adding: "We've got a song called 'Blondie' but we don't need you on stage." Oh, the joys of playing in your hometown where, of course, people love you unconditionally, never curse you and are proud of every success.
The band continue regardless into the elegant 'Beautiful', the storming 'Tragic Magic', 'Blondie' and the sweet bouncing 'Underneath The Lights'. Their previous trademark rough-at-the-edges jangling mayhem has grown into rich composition and song structures which take you far away from the conventional expectations of guitar-driven rock. 'Walls' is a solid killerweight of emotion, reaching into deeper and darker territories and a huge hunk of honesty to grapple with. It scrapes into the blackest of holes and pulls out an exorcism of sound.
The audience are more than convinced after half a dozen songs. The sound was slightly blurry at the front but then the poor sound engineer had just been prepped for an acoustic. At the back, it was a beautiful paradox - to listen to The View’s new songs on a Thursday night five minutes from my home without being pummelled to death by females or have lager-soaked hair. The View are far, far away although their feet are still in Dundee. Threats from local maybes and possiblies are just confirmation of their transformation to definites. Speaking after, Kyle said: "That was great. Better even than the London gig. Better than Ibiza."
In one night, the recession is pushed away. Everyone’s upbeat and believing. So The View are back.
The View's third album is forthcoming. Kyle Falconer guests on the new Mark Ronson single, out September 20th.
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