Words by Ceri Black
7 years since their debut album, ‘Over the Counter Culture’, The Ordinary Boys embark on their final UK tour. The O2 academy was their Birmingham host, on what was possibly the coldest night ever recorded in the city. Wrapped up and excited the Birmingham Review went to see them check out.
Originally from Brighton, The Ordinary Boys shot to fame after lead singer Preston’s stint in the Big Brother house. They released a couple of mediocre, albeit catchy pop songs (Boys Will be Boys, I Luv U), Preston married a celebrity wannabe, Preston divorced a celebrity wannabe, and the band promptly split up. Now, 5 years since setting foot on a stage, The Ordinary Boys’ ‘Somebody Maybe’ tour is both a reunion and farewell to their Ordinary Army; the band’s consitently loyal fan base.
Of which I’m one. I’ve been a massive fan of The Ordinary Boys since I was 17, and, if I’m honest, tonight’s gig was an opportunity for me to regress into a screaming, girly mess. In which I did myself proud. Suitably embarrassing my friend with my shrieks of delight, mainly aimed in Preston’s direction.
The O2 Academy, however, was quite empty. The bar service was slow and the merch table kept collapsing; not the most professional of set ups. But even despite the lack of a crowd the atmosphere was positive. Everyone was there in total support, fervent in the knowledge this may be the last opportunity to see them play live. Lyrics were chanted, fingers were pointed and mosh pits were, well, moshed. Even the trumpet section of ‘Seaside’ was sung along to.
The band themselves were full of energy. Preston bounced around on stage like an excited teenager, and during ‘Weekend Revolution’ he took to jumping from the drum kit in animated style. They sounded great too, and were clearly having genuine fun in performing.
A rendition of The Specials’ ‘Little Bitch’ was my personal highlight, with everything set at maximum volume. And although at one point my stomach was vibrating from bass, I left the 02 Academy with a sweet ringing in my ears.
Despite finishing at the unpunk 9.30pm, a bit early for grown ups, The Ordinary Boys gave Birmingham an energetic and enthusiastic performance. As the O2 blurb said: ‘a string of loud and fast live shows’. And whilst there was neither a packed house or new, raw material, when both band and crowd love a gig that much, you have to ask, is it really farewell?