Tuesday, June 8

Razorlight - Birmingham Academy 7th June

Traditionally June is the nightmare month for music promoters. Nice weather, football and festivals, mean that punters are less likely to want to see a band in a small windowless club.

Bucking the trend, it's gone 10:15pm on one of the hottest days of the year so far and an almost sold out Academy 2 crowd are sweating anticipation and excitement through every pore.

After being hyped to the skies by the music press, Razorlight face a make or break point in their career and this tour is their chance to prove themselves.

New album & drummer
It's certainly been an eventful few months for the Anglo-Swedish quartet, who parted company with their original drummer because of 'lifestyle issues' and have been forced to push back the release of their debut album

'Up All Night' is now finished and ready to be revealed at the end of the month and the band are touring the UK with new sticksman Andy Burrows, in preparation for stardom…or so they hope.

When the crowd's patience is just about to reach breaking point, the band swagger onstage and launch into early single 'Rip it Up', with its prickly, spiky guitars and the cry of "Hey girl, get on the dance floor".

Stage presence
In frontman Johnny Borrell, Razorlight clearly have a star in the making. During interviews, the ex-Libertine often comes across as arrogant, but when performing it translates into a captivating stage presence, as he holds the crowd in the palm of his hand.

Although boasting two Swedes, in bass player Carl Dalemo and guitarist Björn Ågren, the sound of Razorlight is distinctly English. They mix the best of American bands like Television and The Strokes, with the English sensibilities of The Jam and The Kinks.

On 'Leave me Alone', presumably a song written about the attention of over zealous female admirer, Borrell goes into a Clash-like spoken word monologue about a bus ride though North London.

The song shows another side to Borrell and the band, as does recent single 'Golden Touch', the purest pop song they've yet written.

Borrell seems desperate to get away from the microphone stand and into the crowd, but his guitar cord seems to restrict him, and his early forays around the stage end with a rush back to the mic for the next verse.

It's only when he ditches the guitar for the last song of the set that he finally gets to rush about in a frenzy, before staggering into the dressing room behind the stage.

Returning for the encore, whippet-thin Borrell is topless with a towel round his neck, like a featherweight boxer after a sparring session. A swift run through their breakthrough track 'Stumble and Fall' ends the evening on a high note.

There's a fine line between arrogance and belief in your ability. Razorlight walk the tightrope between the two, but with their album soon on the shelves and more shows like this, they will surely win over the doubters sooner rather than later.