Flashguns @ The Lexington, London 23.03.11

The Lexington has seen many a band over the years rocking up to their mic stands with gratuitous confidence boiling over into arrogance and endless nights of drug-fuelled partying etched onto their city-boy faces. Flashguns on the other hand consist of three clean-cut, fresh-faced lads in their early-twenties, only two years on from boarding school. They have recorded a video and an EP in the wilderness of Somerset’s Exmoor and their modesty coupled with a grounded attitude towards their music makes a refreshing change. In comparison to the aforementioned stereotype, they are worlds apart.

Mar 23rd, 2011 at The Lexington, London / By Mark Beckett
Flashguns It’s a testament to their genius that Flashguns can make such powerful music so effortlessly. For a band of their age to be coming to the end of their second headline tour, they are clearly doing no wrong. Their formula is simple; they write anthems that wouldn’t look out of place in the songbooks of White Lies, The Maccabees or even The Killers.

Upon taking to the stage, singer Sam Johnston made no attempts to hide a bout of bronchitis, which he claimed ‘sounds like the name of a dinosaur’, though what was taken away from the clarity of his vocals was made up for in sheer passion as he rasped his way through a catalogue of huge choruses. Set opener and latest single ‘Come And See The Lights’ saw Sam pulling away from the big notes, but otherwise announcing themselves with what is a colossal tune.

Showmanship duties rested solely in the hands of the animated frontman as he bounded about the stage like an aggravated terrier, entranced as much as the onlookers by his own guitar playing. As visually enigmatic as Sam was, bassist Ollie Scanlon made no compromises with his solid grooves, drifting about astutely, whilst drummer Giles Robinson completed a powerful yet understated rhythm section.

Despite setting their standards so high, their forthcoming single ‘Passions of a Different Kind’ proved equally epic and a pattern was already emerging of infectiously sing-along choruses, radiant guitar and meticulous bass playing. In a first half packed with singles, the soon to be released ‘No Point Hanging Around’ provided a perfectly good reason to hang around. Its intricate Cure-esque picking and equally Robert Smith sounding vocals built to a scintillating guitar solo, executed with whirling vivacity...and there’s also the mind-infiltrating chorus once again.

The lengthy ‘Racing Race’ proved a hit with the crowd as it fluctuated in pace, showcasing another side to their music. One thing that can be said for them is that their musical intelligence and maturity much outweighs their apparent ages. This on top of an innocent charm and you’ve got a band who you can really immerse yourself in.

With their one-song encore of ‘St George’ they demonstrated a love and pride of their home country without dipping into distasteful patriotism. They encapsulate the spirit of our country, lending from numerous generations of British music. What is also satisfying about them is that being a three-piece made up of young lads, unless you have previously heard their music, they will defy your expectations to no end as they roar through their set. Then after forty-five minutes of intense guitar solos and hard hitting drums it wouldn’t be surprising if they wind down with a few custard creams and a nice cuppa before they hit the hay.