Shiny Toy Guns

Shiny Toy Guns
Live (Bloke On The Tube)

I’ve seen many a gig in London and the travel is certainly the least enjoyable part of any trip up to the capital. Car, then tube, then foot; I prefer one, or a maximum of two different methods of travel on my nights out. It’s a rule I break tonight as I head off to see Fall Out Boy at Hammersmith Apollo, but it brings an unexpected treat. The first act I see tonight does not take to the famous London stage, but the less glamorous District Line between Turnham Green and Stamford Brook.

As the train leaves Turnham Green, a scruffy-looking fella whips out his guitar and stands up in between everybody. He gives a brief introduction, after which for the next 3 to 4 minutes his gaze is avoided by everybody on the train; everybody apart from myself and photographer Mark that is. He drifts from person to person up the other end of the carriage, oblivious to the note-taking by me and the photos being taken by Mark. We wait for him to get to us, but he doesn’t during his storming performance of one song.

The song in question is the Gloria Jones classic ‘Tainted Love’ made famous by Soft Cell, which he performs really quite well. He’s got a cracking voice, and the guitar work is alright. The only problem really is that nobody asked for him to play, which is why nobody gives him any money. It’s the equivalent of someone standing on your desk at work singing ‘Layla’ at the top of their voice and then staring at you with their palm out. He asks Mark and me for some dosh and before we can give him a note and ask him to play some more he’s off, mumbling something about the stingy public. Ho hum.

So, finally, at Hammersmith, Shiny Toy Guns take to the stage. They have a great crowd despite being first on, due to the fanatic attitude of the Fall Out Boy fans who line the barrier to ensure the best view of their heroes. They play punchy rock tunes with plenty of synths, occasionally changing to quite a hard dance style that breaks things up nicely throughout their set. To mix things up even more the male and female vocalists alternate for different songs, making for a much more interesting and varied set than I expected.

Most impressive of all, their sound fills this large space without much hassle; not bad for a band last seen touring venues the size of Southampton’s Joiners. Their hard-hitting tunes satisfy the FOB fans most of all, whereas less fad-conscious members of the audience, such as myself, are catered for by the ballads that evoke all the feelings associated with listening to Bryan Adams. I know Bryan Adams is terrible, but the irony of it all makes it cool, and things that are cool for ironic reasons humour me, so I like it. Makes no sense does it? Ah never mind.

Whatever happens next for Shiny Toy Guns depends entirely on the British public’s willingness to accept them as their own. They’re big in America apparently, but breaking England is allegedly just as hard as breaking America for British acts, so only time will tell.

Guest article from Matt S.

Written by Guest Writers on

Between 2003 and 2009, [the-mag] had regular contributors from music correspondents covering their local scene. You'll find them all in the guest writers section. The specific writer is mentioned at the bottom of each article.

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