The Futureheads were just as unrelenting in concert (March 1 at the Double Door) as they are on their CD. I still can’t help thinking of early XTC when I hear the Futurehead’s herky-jerky riffs, but they’re original enough to stand apart from their obvious influences. The interlocking guitar lines, the pounding bass and percussion are all great, but what really sets them above most of their contemporaries is the vocals. All four Futureheads sing, though it’s a far cry from sweet harmony. These Brits are a cheeky bunch, too, so their stage banter was pretty entertaining. Only down side: I wish their high-intensity style weren’t quite so unrelenting. I’m not asking for a ballad, but personally, I could use a bit of break.
The first opening act, the High Speed Scene, was pleasant enough but not exactly thrilling power pop. (Think Split Enz with louder guitars.) The second act, Sweden’s the Shout Out Louds, were more enjoyable, with tuneful songs; a hirsute and highly spastic bass player; a very Nordic-looking blonde on keyboards, xylophone, harmonica and tambourine; and a yelping lead singer who looks like Jason Schwartzbaum. I thought their resemblance to the Cure (mostly in the vocals) was a bit too obvious, but a die-hard Cure fan who listened to the Shout Out Louds’ three-song EP assures me I’m just imagining things.