David Segurola 28/05/2007
Good Shoes are a neat little four piece with a slight edge over the rest of your MOR indie-jangle bands. That edge is an unknown quantity: perhaps a smidgen of sixth form charm, the restless nature of their more-than-competently executed guitar pop, or the boundless enthusiasm spilling forth from their army of supporters.
However, the weather's pissing all over my dirty old trainers, I think I'm getting pneumonia and I'm highly unconvinced as to whether standing in a field in Morden for a pre-gig free set will be worth the effort. I've got grim premonitions of the band walking onstage, tired and abused by excess, whimpering “BUY THE ALBUM, SAVE OURS SOULS” down the microphone before sleepily rolling through two and a half songs and then being whipped back into the tour van by a label exec in a grey suit. As is the nature of free gigs (far too many Fopp in-stores in particular) in a world where both style and substance are fucked in favour of PR viability.
Fortunately, my apocalyptic thoughts are dashed by the sight of a massive, high-spirited crowd made up of, in equal parts, excitable, brightly dressed half-termers, interested middle-agers using it as an excuse to start drinking early and Morden locals (boys with ear-rings and Nike trainers, girls with scraped back hair) with a surprisingly amiable disposition. A secret guerrilla gig had, apparently, turned into a mini-festival.
The band (three handsome young chaps and one delightfully chubby lead singer) were genuinely excited about playing a home-coming gig and rained eternal thanks upon the crowd for braving the weather, before adeptly rolled through a full set of sharp, anthemic pop songs, full of self-deprecation, satire, catchy hooks and musical proficiency. They quickly please their public with favourites “Never Meant To Hurt You”, “Ice Age”, “Photos On My Wall” and “Morden”, creating a muddy riot of stage-diving and under-age dirty dancing, like hectic little sex monkeys on a curfew.
Good Shoes proved their worth to the kids: whilst devoid of any notable originality, they carry a brand of faux-dumb poppery that ticks all the boxes. For a band that's often lazily categorised together with shitehawk money-spinners, they actually have something pretty important to offer (community, positivity, desire, outright teenage anthems) amidst a lacklustre music scene that, far too often, is far too cool to care about where they came from and why they do what they do.