The Clone Roses

The Clone Roses

This band thrived before the real thing decided to reform. They were the next best thing and provided the filling in the gaping Stone Roses-shaped holes which existed in many fans’ hearts. But unfortunately, they made a right old hash of this gig…

Date: April 10, 2009

Venue: Rescue Rooms

It must be a difficult and merciless task emulating such a seminal band as The Stone Roses. They were quite unique, and despite numerous counterfeit bands cropping up, no one has even come close to mimicking their sound and relevance in the lexicon of indie music.

The Clone Roses are considered to be the next best thing: a reconstruction of those halcyon days of late 80s/early 90s guitar music which grooved and sashayed like no other. Even former Roses bassist Mani has given them his endorsement.

So it’s with great surprise and disappointment that The Clone Roses shuffle through a set of classic songs; songs which, by rights, should soar but which fall criminally flat here. As stated, it’s hard to mimic such excellence. But this emaciated set proves The Clone Roses to be nothing more than shoddy regurgitators rather than worthy imitators of a special brand of music.

Lead singer Gavin Scott looks more like a dishevelled 60s mop-top than an iconic Monkey Man figure. And although he does his best to impersonate Ian Brown’s dress sense by donning the legendary £10 note motif T-Shirt, the similarity ends there. After I Wanna Be Adored’s huge intro whets the crowd’s appetite, Scott’s muffled voice brings the song crashing down. And it’s his quiet mumblings and the band’s lack of bite which will hinder the whole evening. The guitars are inaudible, the drumming faint and the killer vibe which made the Stone Roses what they were is conspicuous by its absence.

Take Fool’s Gold for example. Normally you’d assign its distinctive funky beats with bouts of unmitigated pandemonium. But it’s so stifled by a lifeless fog that no one even recognises it until about a minute in, by which time it’s been damaged beyond repair. Luckily for the band, Sally Cinnamon rescues them in the nick of time, and only this is salvaged by the crowd’s unified voice after the one component which makes the song what it is – i.e. the opening riff – is deadened.

There is evidence as to their ability, however. Made Of Stone more than makes up for the dearth of vibrancy with its rousing chorus; This is The One is the most coherent tune of the night, but, bizarrely, the one song played without the band is the one which stands out. That song is Tightrope – from underrated album, Second Coming. It commands a sing-song despite being played via solitary faint guitar scratches and Scott’s lone vocal. Also worthy of note is I Am The Resurrection’s bongo-bashing finale. But the highlights are just too sporadic.

Granted they’re a tribute band, and are only supposed to serve as a reminder of the band they’re replicating. But that’s not the problem here. The problem is that the performance is so lacklustre, so timid and so void of excitement that they end up sounding not just like a poor pastiche but just a poor band. Clone Roses? Drone Roses more like.

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