Kids in Glass Houses + Boys Like Girls @ Birmingham Academy, 18th November 2010.


Boys Like Girls are from muthafukin Boston, muthafukin Massachusetts. And whoow, hey, Buurminghaam, they Roarked like only true US of A motherfukas do! Stage podium risers encouraged them to prance and preen in cock-rock cliched profile and preposterous Pantomime priapic swagger. Swinging dick narcissistic dinosaur MTV Heavy Rock? You better muthafukin believe it. And, ‘Hey, Buurminghaam,’ the lobotomized Lotharios declaimed, ‘we’re gonna steal your girlfriends!’ Honestly, these muthafukas, what are they like?


End of set, singer Martin Johnson, stripped his top and lunged in to the moshpit but, with faith restoring immediacy, was jettisoned back to the security barrier. Nevertheless, BLG had them in the charm of their glands and had gone down a storm – leaving the feeling that a zombie had gone down on me.
Set list: Love drunk, Heels, Hero 3, Boyfriend, Heartbreak, Thunder, Two, Great Escape.


Lush red stage curtains are drawn back to ecstatic teenage heart-kick squeals revealing a sparse stage strafed with a blitz of daggered lights. Vocalist, Aled Phillips, has his back to us in ultra casual posed feather boa demure mode. Flanking him are two Venus de Milo mannequins likewise attired. Hmm, this could be some evening’s entertainment. The blistering band sport a variety of formal evening wear with waistcoats and dickey-bows de rigueur.

And with stadium embracing, anthemic friendly, swash and buckle abandon they launch into ‘Sunshine’ during which, and subsequently every song, bar a new one, the punters chorus along to Phillips’ messianic gestured conducting word perfect. An atmosphere of communal empathy envelopes the whole evening and Phillips’, the ringmaster caster of magic, is The Man. And how he works the stage; the songs, the crowd: inclusive, flamboyant and utterly consumed in the collective dynamic with a voice that conjures sweet memories of Thin Lizzy’s Phil Lynott’s sheer passion for serenading every moment’s celebration.


And how he maintains this lunatic energy throughout a set of eighteen songs it’s probably best his mother shouldn’t know. ‘How are you Birmingham? Do you wanna sing?’ He chimes in a most disarmingly lyrical Welsh voice eliciting a bellowing response of agreement. ‘Fuckin’ ‘ell man, yer bloody loud!’ Several times he takes time to thank Brummies for their loyal support in past years and it doesn’t smack of ingratiation: he’s genuinely amazed. If you know the songs, most of them were here. A singular feature of the stage production was the modular light matrix backdrop. During the set it signalled diverse texts in fairground bulb bubbling colours. KIGH featured regularly together with SING- already a given.


The dynamic distills into three essential formats: total ribcage re-arrangement in the conga moshpit, the slow and gentle ballad, ‘Give it up’ (and yes, some sentimental goose did actually raise a lighter flame!). Or, and if we hadn’t quite got the message during ‘Fisticuffs’ (could be wrong here), the instruction was dramatically emblazoned in graphic white light text- ‘MOSH’. Which was obeyed with apocalyptic obedience. Try it at home: wrap yourself in kitchen foil, lick your finger and stick it into a Hadron Collider plug-socket. (Brum Live disclaimer, obviously). Phillips, bless him, takes care to ask that everyone’s alright. There was the frantic passion of next album new song, ‘Out of this world’, and some delightful neat ‘tiger feet’ riffing on song 8 set listed as ‘Warning’.


Closing time sadly beckons and inevitably ‘Saturday’ explodes to a T.Rex intro riff with lighting texts spitting out blood-red against a snapshot blackout. Often, encores are an anti-climax, but KIGH kept even more of their miraculous vintage wine for the final feast with emblazoned DIRT and the stroboscopic HEY rockers leaving the kids and band in sweaty, exhausted delirium. I can see KIGH snapping at the heels of Flaming Lips’ festival spectaculars next year. ‘y plant yn y tÅ· gwydr yn haeddu parch.’

Stage set list: Sunshine, Artbreaker, Best, Undercover, Maybe tomorrow, Lilli, Giving up, Warning, Easy tiger, World, Fisticuffs, Raising hell, Morning, Haunts, Saturday: encore-Blood, Me, Matter at all. (Thank you to the charming young lady who shared her souvenir set list and credit to 02 for providing cool water on demand.)

Review – John Kennedy
Photos – Ian Dunn

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