Rock: Spector at Whelan's, Dublin
Spector, to paraphrase Al Gore, used to be the next big thing in indie rock. They began 2012 up to their eye-balls in hype, long-listed for the prestigious BBC Sound Of Poll, their media cheerleaders variously hailing them the second coming of Pulp and a Home Counties Strokes.
With their catchy student disco workouts and wise-cracking interview style, it seemed a foregone conclusion that they would join Mumford And Sons and The Vaccines at the top table of British guitar pop.
How distant those days must seem as the quintet -- a collective of privately educated 20-somethings from posh west London -- stagger on stage at a two- thirds full Whelan's and proceed to shamble their way through a performance that veers from dull to excruciating.
Leaning on his mic-stand, frontman Fred Macpherson is a prickly presence throughout, spending the evening hosing down guitarist Christopher Burman with vitriol (starting with a not very funny quip about Burman's non-existent aunt having passed away).
"Here are songs from our unreleased and unwanted record," Macpherson announces, in one of his more lucid ramblings. His band mates stand around him glowering, their frowns turning frostier the longer he goes on.
There's no shutting him up, though. After a jaw-droppingly tasteless quip about the now defunct Irish girl band Bewitched, you expect someone-- another member of Spector most likely -- to walk over and punch him.
By the time they get around to early single 'Chevvy Thunder', the evening is in danger of descending into farce as an over-confident moppet from a local radio station is hauled up and starts shouting and singing over Macpherson. You feel sorry for those who have paid in to see what is supposed to be the bright hope of British alternative music.
Finishing with the closest they have come to a hit, the sprightly 'Never Fade Away', Spector provide glimpses of the interesting prospect they might have been.
But they all appear very angry with one another and, unless this happens to be a particularly awful night, it's hard to see a way back.
With the sweaty-quiffed Macpherson the chief culprit, Spector are rather a mess.