Carling Academy, Liverpool
“Let’s fucking ‘ave it!” shouts Tom Clarke, the short-arsed frontman of Coventry’s The Enemy. Looking like the bastard offspring of Liam Gallagher, Ian Brown and Paul Weller, Clarke is an exciting prospect and the gob that he employs in interviews is used to greater effect on stage. Tom is pissed off and determined to let it all out, but the audience are slow to take him up on his cries.
With ‘40 Days and 40 Nights’ however, they manage to light the blue touch paper and the crowd burst into pogoing frenzies. They move musically from the low and gutsy towards the melodic and anthemic and they’re so much better at it. On the likes of ‘Away From Here’ the sap rises with their riffs and both band and audience burn up the venue with enthusiasm.
It’s an exhilarating show. The Enemy have the attitude, the spunk and the stage skills of a great rock band, but ultimately, they lack the songs. They may be reflecting the angst of part of Britain, but they aint doing it with anything approaching the eloquence or brilliance of the bands they imitate. Once that frustration is ignited in an audience determined to have a good time, it simply requires the momentum be kept up and Clarke can lead a crowd with the best of them. But he isn’t leading anything exciting musically and attitude will only get you so far.
For all that Oasis relied on the mouth and persona of Liam, behind him there was the older, uglier, smarter Noel to write the songs that his younger brother lit up so well. Clarke has no such support. The Enemy are a band that feel the frustration of millions and occasionally set them free, but only occasionally. So far, they have just enough songs to sing along to, but none to cherish.
By Kenn Taylor