Drinking my first beer of the night, I thought of my chumbuttlies with whom I would soon be road-tripping to the gig, singing nursery rhymes and drinking from stolen pint glasses as we went. On the road, we joyfully reminisce about the Ritz of our whipper-snapper days and had a rather scintillating debate about the relative merits of the old versus the new incarnations of what is now officially known as the ‘Dog Dog Dribblesworth Carlsberg HMV Ritz Cracker’.

The last paragraph isn’t entirely true, but I let me girlfriend help me out and write an introduction. Thanks hon.

Back in the real world, we arrive slightly after Wild Nothing take the stage. They are pretty downbeat but without being slow. It’s driving music in both senses: nice, bass-driven chill. It’s very reminiscent of the sounds of The Smiths and New Order, with drums like the Stone Roses and the occasional bit of Dredg thrown in to remind the audience that Y2K has been and gone.

Wild Nothing have the sound, but not the substance, or the same level of song-writing craft as the luminaries mentioned above – it’s as if Reni, Jonny Marr and Peter Hook got together for an impromptu jam on a Sunday afternoon. Although it’s very easy on the ear, there are no rousing choruses here, no memorable poppy refrains. It’s very much something that would fade in to the background if it wasn’t going on right in front of me – almost like a Madchester version of muzak.

It’s a bit weird to watch a band that totally take on the sounds of this city, yet who have no direct link to it, but overall I enjoy the experience – although Wild Nothing are not someone I will be seeking out.

The Ritz revival seems genuinely deserved. It’s a live venue like few others – with Deaf Institute and the Apollo being rare exceptions. I wish that people were building music venues (I wish they were building anything) like this nowadays. Such a  characterful setting is a valuable addition to any experience – I believe it really makes the event more special.

I first saw Walkmen at Primavera festival in Barcelona last year where, as one of many, they suffered – blending in to the noise, to some extent. Here, they are the centre of attention, and it works much better, even though their drumkit sounds like it’s made out of cardboard boxes.

As they were in Barcelona, members of the Walkmen are suited – conjuring images of the Killers, to whom they bear the occasional sonic resemblance. The music manages to reach a stadium level of epic on the second song after a stuttering start. I like the Walkmen for the fact that overall, the music is positive and uplifting, and also because they bring a lot of variety. Although there is a definite ‘Walkmen sound’, in just the first three songs, they pull off a notable breadth of sonic textures.

Pushing the UK connection a bit, they occasionally sound a bit like Pulp and there are hints of Spacehog – and I think the comparison bears fruit in that they are not the most mainstream of bands, despite a loyal following and a pretty epic back-catalogue – the Walkmen have released seven albums and a glut of EPs since forming in 2000.

I have to admit that I am not blown away by this performance – but I certainly can’t find fault with it (although there was that little guitar mistake in the 6th song or so). As it goes, this is my problem, not a fault with the Walkmen – they crafted a set that built and built, and which was thoroughly enjoyable.

Chris Oliver

I've been playing bass guitar and guitar for over half my life. I last played bass in in a band called Electromotive and as a singer-songwriter I have written songs about cheese and vajazzles (separate songs!). I started out listening to 60s, 70s and 80s rock as a kid and I was in to grunge and U.S. punk and ska in the 90s. Since then, I've broadened my tastes and I like the best of all styles of music, even country. I've been writing for Silent Radio since it started.