Hard-Fi – Melkweg, Amsterdam – 23/02/2006

They speak like a bunch of chavs and act like they’re the greatest fucking band in the world.

They speak like a bunch of chavs and act like they’re the greatest fucking band in the world.


Hard-Fi have made it. Or at least, they think they’ve made it. After all, this is what it’s about isn’t it? Appearances on Top of the Pops, fancy new outfits and haircuts, sold out shows and something resembling a proper light show. They check all boxes. They even have a few decent tunes, so give them a bonus point. Unfortunately there’s something not quite right with Hard-Fi. There’s something about the fact that they so obviously want every single person in the room to love them that I can’t help but find them exceedingly hard to like. I’m not sure if I’ve ever seen a band with so much of a “Look at us we’re fucking marvelous” attitude before, and I’ve seen the Manic Street Preachers on numerous occasions.


I’ll get the good stuff out of the way first before people think I’m just ranting for no reason because, credit where credit is due, there were parts of this show that weren’t just good, they were borderline excellent. Cash Machine was well received, possibly out of familiarity alone but Hard To Beat certainly lived up to its title, closing the main set triumphantly, it’s jaggy guitar lines sending the boys and girls crammed together on the Melkweg floor into rapture and deservedly so. Stars of CCTV was the song that impressed me the most because it sounded so much more sophisticated than anything else they played all evening. Musically, it was very good indeed, with the addition of an acoustic guitar filling out the sound rather well and it’s the one song of theirs that makes me think that there’s better to come from them. If Coldplay tried to write a Billy Bragg song it would probably sound something like this and that’s not as bad as it sounds. Unfortunately Better do Better sounded like Damon Albarn fronting UB40 and wasevery bit as dreadful as that sounds. If I ever hear that song again it’ll be too soon. It was introduced as, “a song about having your heart broken BY A FUCKING WASTE OF SPACE!!!!” and lyrically it was as petty and childish as you’d expect. Ugh.



I think Middle Eastern Holiday has the potential to sound fantastic with a couple of thousand people singing along. The same goes for Tied Up Too Tight and Unnecessary Trouble too (pleasingly dedicated here to the guys in the third row who’d just had a fight), but the entire middle portion of their set was bland, boring and uninspiring. That wouldn’t have bothered me that much if they such a bunch of cocky wankers. They speak like a bunch of chavs and act like they’re the greatest fucking band in the world.


The weird thing is, I normally like that in a band, unless it’s the Darkness – and they should be put out of their misery as soon as possible –  but for some reason the Hard-Fi attitude just rubs me up the wrong way. Maybe I’m just getting old?



If you were to ask any of the kids in the audience tonight they’d probably tell you that I’m talking out of my arse and wouldn’t know the greatest band in the world if they were right in front of me. Of course I’d probably tell them to fuck off, mention once again that I’ve seen the Manic Street Preachers on numerous occasions and that they should shut up and learn to respect their elders, so I suggest you decide yourselves who you should believe. As for me, I’m not sure if the greatest band in the world would ever be allowed to come from Staines, but if Hard-Fi carry on in the Stars of CCTV vein then I suppose they could prove me wrong. I won’t hold my breath though.


Words : Damian Leslie