The View emerged in 2006 amongst a clutch of guitar bands who found an audience in the wake of the success of the Arctic Monkeys. Earning comparisons with the Sheffield band as well as The Libertines, The View seemed set for the top. NME loved them (just stopping short of mentioning deep fried Mars Bars in their album review). Radio 1 loved them. Festival crowds loved them. Debut album ‘Hats Off To The Buskers’ hit number one in the UK, single ‘Same Jeans’ was a Top 5 hit. However, almost as quickly as their commercial fortunes rose, they fell. Subsequent singles from the album bombed. Follow up album ‘Which Bitch?’ went Top 5 and disappeared. Another two albums and numerous singles drifted by nearly unnoticed. This is the first night of the tour to promote new album ‘Ropewalk’. How much interest will there be in a band that many see as a flavour of the month outfit from the mid Noughties?
It’s sold out. And so is tomorrow’s show at the same venue. To fans of the band, this is no surprise. The View have a devoted following, one that has sustained them throughout the commercially lean years since their debut. The chant ‘The View, The View, The View are on fire’ rings out more than once.The band’s reputation as a stellar live band is renowned. The band have played T in the Park eight times, more than any other group.
As well as a reputation for being a great live band, The View are also known for their hedonism. It’s been known for he band to take the stage more drunk than those watching them. Singer Kyle Falconer has recently been in rehab. My pal who came to the gig with me said it’s always fun to see what sort of state The View are in on any given night. Tonight, they look fresh as a daisy. Kyle looks barely out of his teens. The Lemon Tree is rammed and sweaty. The youngest person here must be about 11, the oldest in their 60’s. There are hipster beardy guys with those granny curtains shirts, a few boys with Liam/Weller haircuts, a really, really fat guy wearing a Nirvana t shirts pogoing down the front. The opening combo of ‘Happy’ and ‘Shock Horror’ send the place loopy. Like proper loopy, folk singing every word, girls on their boyfriends shoulders, moshing, the lot. The View tear through their now extensive back catalogue. They chuck in ‘Wasted Little DJ’s’ very early, provoking the biggest singalong yet. Bass player Kieren Webster takes over lead vocals on another early favourite ‘Skag Trendy’, another track that weaves, falls over, picks itself up and rages. This is not just another verse-chorus-verse band. This is not The Enemy.
Tracks from the new album are well received. Kieren asks who has bought the new record. He’s answered by some raised hands then comments that some of us must have bought two copies. The newer material seems more streamlined than their debut but is still full of hooks. Falconer has an engaging, soulful yelp, like Alex Harvey fronting MC5 at times. The energy of the crowd does not lessen at any point during the set. It gets a bit too much at one point, security ejecting a guy who looked old enough to know better. Falconer takes centre stage alone to play an acoustic version of early single ‘Face For The Radio’. It’s a charming performance, a swaying singalong ensuing.
The View finish strongly with ‘Same Jeans’ and ‘Superstar Tradesman’. As is their habit, there is no encore. Encores are a bit pantomime bullshit anyway. Night one of the tour is complete and everyone here has had a great night. A sizeable chunk of them will likely be back tomorrow for night two.
I’m one of those who picked up ‘Hats Off For The Buskers’ back in the day and never thought anything of it again once something new came along, so my knowledge of their canon is limited. But this was still a very enjoyable show. If I didn’t have work the next day and ageing knees, I could easy have been down the front, throwing beers down my neck. (But never over my head into the crowd behind. Who does that shit?). Their commercial peak has long passed but The View could easily fit in with older bands like James and Shed Seven. Hear me out. You may not have their albums but you know enough of their stuff to hum along to and enjoy at a live show. The View have been told they’re welcome back to play at T in the Park any year they want. With a live show like this, it’s not hard to see why. They’ll be touring for years to come.
The album ‘Ropewalk’ is out now via Cooking Vinyl.
The View’s tour continues:
London, Electric Ballroom – Sep 23rd
Portsmouth, Wedgewood Rooms – Sep 24th
Sheffield, The Leadmill – Sep 25th
Leeds, Brudenell Social Club – Sep 26th
Nottingham, The Rescue Rooms – Sep 27th
Manchester, Gorilla – Sep 29th
Hull, The Adelphi – Sep 30th
Cumbria, The Old Fire Station – Oct 1st
Edinburgh, The Liquid – Oct 4-5th