“So this is what ‘sold out’ looks like,” Fred Macpherson observes as he surveys a packed out Shepherds Bush Empire. “I’ve never seen this many people in one room.” And so it is that Spector wrap up this 22-date UK headline tour on a high note, Macpherson recalling the band playing to a significantly smaller and less enthused crowd just a year ago than the one they find tonight. Lining the front of the stage are a series of Spector look-alikes, all slicked back dos and thick-set spectacles. They front what is a no less than rapturous audience all night, summed up by an enthused fan who unwisely chooses to crowd surf during ‘Twenty Nothing’ – the first song of the night – and is ejected before the gig even really gets going. Such displays of plain fandom are confirmation that after his Les Incompétents and ox.eagle.lion.man attempts at indie front man success, Fred Macpherson has finally settled on a routine that sticks.
And quite a routine it is. Fred makes his eagerly awaited stage entrance in a Daz-white suit with a trench coat draped over his shoulders – it’s clearly there for display purposes only as he flamboyantly peels it off and tosses it to a waiting roadie moments later. At numerous points throughout the set, meanwhile, he takes a plastic comb from his pocket to slide it back through his hair, despite not a follicle actually being out of place. It’s all rather affected and gratingly obnoxious, but the crowd eat up his showy antics, and, hey, it’s practically written this review for us.
And what about the music? Spector are an impressively solid and professional live act. They empty out the entire contents of ‘Enjoy While It Lasts’ with ease. The crowd are lead through mass sing-alongs, arms aloft swaying and wind themselves up into indie dance floor hysteria to the gentlemanly pop of ‘Friday Night, Don’t Ever Let It End’ and ‘What You Wanted.’ The rest of the band functions as a spruced up backing group, without names or voices. Hopefully they in particular are enjoying it while it lasts; it’ll be interesting to see if their overtly ambitious leader sees them as intrinsic to his next career move or not.