Early on in Kick-Ass, Matthew Vaughn's adaptation of the Mark Millar graphic novel of the same name, Aaron Johnson - playing the eponymous wannabe teenage superhero - details his masturbatory habits. Anything can set him off, no matter how high-minded his original intentions. Even a National Geographic-style photo of bare-breasted African tribeswomen is enough to get him dropping trou and making both himself and shareholders in Kleenex worldwide that bit happier. It's a sadly apt metaphor for a film that squanders every inch of its ample potential: any time he comes close to an interesting idea, rather than explore it fully Vaughn loses all self-control, retreating instead into gratuitous ultra-violence, witless profanity and fanboy wish-fulfilment. The film appears to be positioning itself as a tongue-in-cheek cross between Alan Moore's Watchmen and Sam Raimi's Spider-Man films. Instead, it undermines itself as fatally as Zack Snyder's Watchmen adaptation, and ends up just another Xbox nerd's wank fantasy.
Something about tonight feels epochal.
The Twilight Sad has firmly established itself as the greatest Scottish band of its time, the best to emerge since the late '90s boom that produced Belle and Sebastian and Chemikal Underground's early roster: Mogwai, The Delgados, Arab Strap. If its 2009 sophomore album, Forget The Night Ahead, doesn't quite match its 2007 debut, Fourteen Autumns & Fifteen Winters, it's only because the latter is arguably the finest album of the past decade, Scottish, debut or otherwise, and to say that it remains the band's finest hour is to say that Radiohead has never really topped Kid A, or that Sonic Youth has never really topped Daydream Nation. The band is the figurehead of a revitalised Scottish indie scene, many of whom are present at tonight's gig, most notably label-mates and frequent tour-mates Frightened Rabbit and We Were Promised Jetpacks, and tonight, it's playing to a bigger audience than it ever has before.
We don't usually preview upcoming gigs, because we're not in the habit of regurgitating PR pieces for bands that generally don't need it. When you get down to it, what can a preview really say? It can't talk about the gig itself, because that hasn't happened yet. It can't just be an interview with a band member, because interviews are their own thing. It can't just review the album, because a band's live show is by its very nature something entirely different. So for a preview to be of any use whatsoever, it has to carry the weight of a recommendation from a trustworthy friend. It has to make you want to get out of your seat and go buy a ticket. It has to convince you that this band, more than any other band playing in any given town on any given night, is worth your time and your money, and the only way for it to do that is if its writer is willing to get shamelessly personal about how much this band means to him or her. For now, Japandroids is that band and I'm that writer. Things might be about to get weird.
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