Music Review: XFM’s Best New Bands 2011 @ The Borderline

Franco Milazzo
By Franco Milazzo Last edited 87 months ago
Music Review: XFM’s Best New Bands 2011 @ The Borderline

If you took all the hipsters in Shoreditch and laid them end to end, not only would it look funny but the line would probably stretch to the Borderline where last night a Hoxton Expeditionary Force was present in full voice cheering on one or other of XFM’s Best New Bands as part of HMV’s Next Big Thing series of gigs.

XFM’s breakfast DJ David Berry was persuaded to stay up past his bedtime to compère the evening, which featured three bands lauded by the station over the last year.  Luna Belle played at last year’s Latitude Festival but we think that their sound makes far more impact in smaller venues.  Coming across like a modern day Sleeper (complete with Sleeperblokes), the lead singer has a strong voice and the confident sexual allure of Debbie Harry.  Tip for the guitarist: if the audience’s eyeline is at your crotch level, wearing tight jeans is not a good look unless, or even if, you're well-endowed.

Up next, Romance arrive on stage with the warning: “for those who haven't seen us before, it'll be quite an experience".  That is nothing but truth.  The music is non-stop full-on cock-rock.  Jamie Lovatt is a modern Billy Idol, all angry vocals, blond hair, waxed chest and dangly earring who fights for stage presence with bassist Samantha Valentine as she channels Melissa Auf Der Maur at every opportunity.  They are easily the best band on the night for us, just on entertainment value; their wall of sound is an uncompromising tour de force, a violent reproach to the pervasive notion of the independent music scene as four skinny indie kids playing weak rock in a Camden boozer.

Headliners Wolf Gang play unashamed party rock with 1990s keyboard-laden hooks big enough to catch Moby Dick.  The singer is a charismatic and capricious frontman who can’t make his mind whether he looks cooler with his guitar or without.  The only all-male band tonight, they bring out the greatest reaction in the crowd especially when stadium-size numbers like Lions In Cages or Back To Back get an airing.

You can follow our coverage of HMV’s Next Big Thing 2011 here.

Last Updated 10 February 2011


I saw Luna Belle play and they were so much better than Romance! Saw that guitarist and drummer fro LB chatting to Dave Berry outside for ages! Romance was definitely the worst band of the night. Cock-rock are you serious??? Wolfgang were great too. - Jamie

hi i'm robbie

hahaha cock rock. so daft


Heard of Wolfgang before they were sick, Havent heard of Luna Belle but want to see more of them!! singer is hottt!! great sound they have. - Pete

some dude

Wolfgang FTW.

Captain Beef

good review.

I think the rest of you need your heads looking at. Romance saved my night as the rest of the bill turned out to be dry and predictable like the night bus journey home. LB were non offensive but offered little more than twee background music. The headliners were good at what they do but are about 18 months too late. Same repetitive stuff - nothing remotely exciting.

I happen to think Romance were ace and am looking forward to seeing what they do this year. All the best bands have been about ego and bravado. Now all we seem to get are sheepish teens who look like they work in Topman and are embarrassed to be on stage.

Will I ever be excitedly pre-ordering the next LB album? I think not.

Thats my penny's worth.


LB I didn't actually catch coz I was asleep. Romance were ALIVE. WG- fell back asleep.


I thought Luna Belle and Wolfgang were better. Much stronger songs (go to their myspaces and listen)