The Ordinary Boys @ The Fleece, Bristol, 22/10/15

The Ordinary BoysIn fitting with the timeless trend of reunion tours and a more recent 2000’s revival come The Ordinary Boys, who return to Bristol in support of their self-titled fourth album, released earlier this month.

First up tonight are Ghost of the Avalanche, a Frome based two-piece who specialise in drum stick-splitting, bass-shredding noise punk. Opening with "Volcano", taken from their new EP This Is Earth, Nick Wilton and Miles Pereira pummel their way through their short, punchy set, which includes one of the best cover-ups for an on-stage mistake ever witnessed. The performance is full of energy, with songs that are both remarkably heavy and surprisingly catchy. Unfortunately, their time on stage comes to an end almost as soon as it begins, but the impression is made. With a fierce sound and deceptively technical playing, Ghost of the Avalanche are definitely ones to watch on the South West music scene.

Main support comes from The Black Tambourines, a young band from Falmouth who play fuzzy, up-tempo rock n roll. The band play tightly enough as a unit, with extra credit going to bass player Jake Willbourne for his hip-shaking dance moves. However the thick layers of distortion create an uneasy wall of sound that drowns out lead singer Sam Stacpoole’s vocals and any notable hooks or riffs. The band appear enthusiastic onstage, but the dynamic remains too straightforward throughout, and the songs blur into one. A less-than-enthusiastic response from the audience indicates a band who have yet to fully hone their sound and reach a greater potential.

Tonight’s headliners The Ordinary Boys take to the stage with great vitality and passion, perhaps desiring to make up for lost time since their split in 2008 and slow comeback since 2011. Front man and head honcho Preston is particularly lively as he throws himself across the stage, hammering away at his guitar and on several occasions leaning off-stage to share his mic with the audience. Preston is joined by original rhythm section Charlie Stanley and James Gregory, and the band are aided by newest member Louis Jones, whose solid guitar chops appear to coax an invigorated performance from the others.

It is always difficult to judge a reunion tour, the question of ‘should’ over ‘could’ always coming to mind. It is also tricky to estimate public demand for a band who have been out of mainstream attention for so long. The Stone Roses selling out three nights at Heaton Park, this is not. Currently embarking on a 26-date UK tour, the band return to Bristol tonight after a successful set at The Louisiana last year. A considerable step up, The Fleece feels like a slightly optimistic booking, the 400 capacity venue being nowhere near full. However, the crowd tonight consists mainly of die-hard fans, who will follow the band wherever they go and would probably prefer to see them in a smaller venue anyway (as opposed to, say, the O2 Academy).

Early singles "Week In Week Out" and "Talk Talk Talk" from their debut album Over The Counter Culture go down a storm, with fans shouting along and starting a small mosh pit. It appears this Thursday night audience are truly having a great time, whether they’re reveling in nostalgia or are just happy to see the band back on form. The new material fits well into the setlist, but it’s "Boys Will Be Boys", their highest charting song to date, which is the real crowd pleaser.

It may have been easy to forget about The Ordinary Boys since the mid-2000s, but true fans will be rewarded by the band’s new-found focus and commitment to trawling the country, providing fans with entertaining gigs. Preston himself is an odd entity, mixing a cocky rock-star persona with polite remarks. It’s hard to tell whether he is still the megalomaniac once depicted in the press, or simply happy to here. It doesn’t matter though, the band are extremely well rehearsed and prove that they can still conjure the same excitement and charisma that made them famous in the first place.

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