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Every year the NME in co-operation with a large brewery host a week of gigs at the Astoria to promote the best of the current music scene. This year was of particular importance, due to the gloominess of the previous twelve months. Music had a lot to prove, so beer money in hand. Kred made its way along to cast its critical eve over proceedings.

After an all American opening night with Sebadoh, Quasi and Eliot Smith. Tuesday was a distinctly more anglo-centric fare. First tip were new Creation signings, One Lady Owner. Peddling their wares of goth in a shoegazing style, they were merely interesting for a set of thundering basslines that wouldn't have sounded amiss from their label mates Primal Scream. Not a particularly auspicious start then. The next band tip held more promise however. Six By Seven are a Nottingham based five piece with a natty line in powerful but elegant rock songs. Songs like European Me and 88-92-96 soared like frail beauties, a sound created through a knowing mix of Radiohead, Floyd and New Wave. As good as they are, it's The Delgados, who follow through with the most intriguing set of the night. Gentle melodic soundscapes are interspersed with powerful bursts of noise, aided by flute, cello and keyboards. The male-female vocal combination works well throughout, and the creators of the Chemikal Underground label houses few bands to compare with them. With all this then, it seems very incongruous to have The Bluetones as the headlining act. Surely this is the sort of band to be jettisoned to make way for fresh blood if the UK music scene is to flourish? Well no. The casualties of the post Britpop fallout number many, but the Bluetones have managed to just survive. No label to speak of, no one to distribute their music and the last single only available through mail order, it would be more than fair if the 'Tones came out to mope around. Instead the band come out and proceed to play the sort of set they would play if their lives depended upon it. Which they sort of do. The brothers Morris, resplendent in matching shirt and ties deliver a jet propelled set of time tested songs that all sound like they were number ones, including the one that almost was. Slight Return provokes a near riot among the heaving Bluetones faithful: surprising but still very heart warming. The biggest reception however is left for set closer If, and as we walk away with the na na na refrain still ringing in our ears, it suddenly occurs as to why the Bluetones are still around. They're ace. As simple as that.

Extracted from kred, March 1999