Southampton Guildhall - November 2005

The Bravery + The Paddingtons

Images: ©2005 Stuart Leech -

by Stuart Leech

The Paddingtons swagger on stage like they’re walking out into 1977, dressed somewhere between the Clash and the Sex Pistols. Front man Tom Atkins even looks a bit like Sid Vicious, add to that they’re from Hull and they look like the gang that’s just nicked your car stereo. They sing short, punchy three-minute punk/pop songs about love (Sorry) and recovering from hangovers (Worse For Wear). These songs may well be catchy and performed with all the vigour of a proper punk band but where’s the politics? I also can’t understand why there are two guitarists, they stand face to face as though they’re ping-ponging some great ad-lib guitar solo between them. Sadly, they aren't. Instead, all the songs seem to work very much around the same or similar power chords. So simple in fact that they need to make themselves look busy. The Paddingtons do have something but it isn’t obvious. Their style and format is all stolen from the influences they wear on their sleeve; smoking a fag in a non-smoking establishment is about as 'punk' as this band get. Maybe when they stop copying and start innovating they will be headlining. People don’t seem to like The Bravery. Many perceive them as poseurs who have stolen their sound straight from The Killers (who stole theirs from Shed Seven, who stole theirs from... and so on) but when the band take the stage and the first chord of ‘Swollen Summer’ is struck, the audience are hooked. They put everything they have into the song and front man Sam Endicott is sweating come the final beat. You can easily see how Endicott is labelled as poser. He prances around with mic stand all over the place, Morrissey stylee, but this just adds to the live show. The band are tight; the drums pulsate as the Guildhall speakers struggle with the bass parts and every song has the key synth and guitar hook line, all played with immense accuracy. The set is short, which is no surprise seeing as their début album is little over forty minutes long but, without the token slow songs, it's relentless and the crowd have to keep up. Each song sounds as though it should be a hit and while Endicott hits every high note, whilst flailing around, it is a considerable mark of achievement. I think it would be too easy to attack The Bravery for being what may seem a presumptuous, self important band - but their confidence is what makes them great performers. The press is much to blame for the condemning of this band, as they freely publicised The Killers so-called feelings about them. If The Killers could put on this kind of show, only then would they have something to complain about.