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To be honest, these guys that we’re touring with, they’re not our idols. But we appreciate what we have and the opportunity we have been given,” bassist Luke Bradley fairly explained before their second UK arena tour of the year. This time rock pop act EofE are following the likes of The Vamps and Nina Nesbitt across the country after their whimsical antics with ‘supergroup’ McBusted. Tonight the quintet are opening at Manchester’s 02 Apollo. This time there may be more late night larks at Satan’s Hollow.

It must be difficult for a group of lads hailing from the West Midlands and Shrewsbury to comprehend – especially after forming just about a year ago – the enormity of this evening’s show. Opening at any show is tough, but they’ve had some practise now.

“McBusted were great with us, I mean they gave us some great advice,” 17 year old frontman Tom Harris explained.“They taught us how to do it. They are different to The Vamps as they have families and keep themselves to themselves but playing at places like the Phones-4-U Arena helped us. With The Vamps – they’re good guys – they’re around all the time so we get some good time to hang about with them. It’s different playing those compared to your own show at an intimate venue [like next month’s Sound Control session] with your own fans because we love that, being top of the bill.”

But don’t get me wrong, I love the arenas,”drummer Nicky Waters quipped.

Throughout their rapid 15 minute set, EofE are exactly as they appeared. Loose, inky but permeating a certain brazen aura. Nicky was right. Opening with ‘Kiss Me Like You Mean It’ – typically kitted out with distortion doused power chords as charging rounds of the stage is strutted by Tom whose contagious vocal melodies had the screeching audience up, dancing, wailing, phone waggling among others – they followed it with the slower tones of ‘Peace of Me’. At around five minutes in, the stereotypical 80’s group jumping and warped guitar effects entered. McBusted have had an impact.

Breakdowns evolved with calling from Tom to seas of responding from their newly christened devotees and their ‘Smells Like Teen Spirit’/’Billie Jean’ mash-up was a bit of a nice touch. Capturing the initial brittle attitude evoked by Nirvana, EofE actually pulled it off. Not saying Kurt would be proud, but it’s fair to think in context he would respect. ‘Lust’ concluded.

What’s striking about the five piece is that they are pleasantly understanding of how far they have come. Opinions on ‘pop[ier but seriously not that poppy]’ groups often become clouded with teenage girls falling head over heals and weeping at the ground while the band sit in a van and have a joint. Let’s have it right, the girls were there – in there hundreds – lining the streets surrounding the outskirt venue, aiming their camera phones up at the windows in the vague hope for a glimpse of Brad Simpson or Tom. But EofE appear settled. Even if Dan Bremner is “not overwhelmed” with Tottenham’s recent managerial decisions. Can’t have it all though can you? Where’s the fun in that?

Words by Clive K Hammond

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