Flashguns @ The Jericho Tavern – 15/03/11

You can always tell the ones who really mean it. A band who are in a band because they love being in a band, who play shows because they love to play shows, who write music because they love to write music. Flashguns are one of those.

At a median age now of 21, they’ve been going since they were 16, and have played, toured and written incessantly since then. As I’m writing this, they’re nearing the end of a show-a-day headline tour of Britain. They’ve played over 70 shows since November, supporting a cast including Dananananaykroyd, Mona and Funeral Party.

You can see it on their faces. Even after such a run of shows this set is still as tight and roaring as any band fresh from the gates would be. Singer/Guitarist Sam looks almost pained when he steps up to the mic, spitting each syllable out as if poisoned. It’s a great counterpoint to the grandiose sound they’ve developed over the years, a kind of emotional bubble of noise that bursts out of the guitars like a reverberated shotgun. Rollicking, you could say.

The past couple of singles capture it perfectly, particularly the old(ish) ‘I Don’t Not Love You’. Ambiguous structurally as it is lyrically, the band remain rock-tight over the swaying choruses, forcing each section on to its inevitable switchup. The same goes for latest single ‘Passions Of A Different Kind’. There’s an intelligence, melodically, harmonically, everywhere, which is almost at odds with the straight-forward rock mentality of their performance.

A couple of new songs are played as well, and if they’re anything to go by, the new album is going to be a heavier affair, four to the floor, bassy and gruff. A good thing. Looking at drummer Giles’ face in the last song, there’s a smile of pure joy there. This is a band who play because they love to play. You can always tell the ones who really mean it.