The ingredients to making a band successful requires a mix of good tunes, even better looks and perhaps a pinch of talent. But there is always that elusive something extra and whatever that something is, 10,000 Things have it in abundance. From a collective wacky dress sense (day-glo wife-beaters, sweatbands, purple suits and outfits straight from 'A Clockwork Orange'), to bongos; an onstage ensemble which looks more like a chaotic stage invasion, a frustrated stand-up comedian for a frontman and, of course, that undeniable Yorkshire charm. How can they fail?
Their Jagger-like singer Sam Riley knows how to work the crowd with a volatile mixture of obnoxious and friendly behaviour; he makes for interesting listening and viewing while guitars courtesy of Will Newman and Davro pickpocket spiky punk and 50s rock n' roll. Brother George provides the cool and calm in the eye of the Things storm giving the punk some funk. Justin Jackson and Stobb provide the percussion and beats for a solid foundation to the hectic tunes.
Thanks to hard graft and incessant touring during the latter part of 2004, and some festival appearances, the buzz is growing: a debut album and a third single are due out early next year and they've earned the seal of approval from those lovely ladies; the Queens of Noize….
Which is not surprising. The Queens flock like flies to scheisse at this sort of combo: specialists in sleazy guitars, dirty bass, filthy lyrics and a frontman dressed as a skinny cabaret singer, Singer Sam said:
“We've got some club dates lined up early next year with the Queens of Noize. They invited us to play in London about a year ago and they've had us back since then. We get on well, it's nice to have support. They've got a bit of a reputation, they like to party, but we've found them to be very charming!”
Other significant live dates included an appearance at the V festival:
“We won the T4 competition to open the V Festival. It was wicked because we played the second stage which was near to the gate so when people started coming in they heard us straight away.”
Song-wise, the Things come armed with an artillery of stun-gun tunes. The sexy, sludgy lethargy of debut single 'Foodchain' has always stood out in live sets in that it diverts from their usual faster pace, and allows Sam to wiggle his Elvis hips to the 50s riffs. 'Oh No' is clearly a live favourite thanks to the dexterity of percussionist Justin's wrists – catchier than a cold at Christmas, the seedy lyrics and jumpy rhythm usually gets the cute chicks in the crowd going.
'Titanium's' groove squats somewhere between the two, with a thick, slow riff but a heavier, catchier sound than 'Foodchain', describing one man's trial with tales of his wandering willy. 'Dogsbody', on the other hand, carries a war-cry for frustrated McWorkers everywhere.
But sex sells, and considering Sam Riley has been known to introduce 'Oh No' with: “This one's about fucking someone who's not your girlfriend”, they should soon be earning more than tuppence and a handshake. For example, their next single is called Eating's Not Cheating. Sam said:
“It's not overtly about oral sex, it's more about celebrities being falsely accused of having affairs when all they are doing is going out on a dinner date. It's nothing misogynistic.”
Playing live, they are tight, outrageous and entertaining. Their love of touring has served them well, but Sam said it's also down to the audience – a good reception always makes their job a little easier:
“It's even better when the audience wants to have a good time. I mean, we usually get them going by the end, but it makes us give a bit more if they're up for it.”
Dates supporting Babyshambles in Scotland proved to be successful, despite the fact that the tardy Pete Doherty declined to show face:
“He draws a massive crowd which was good for us to be exposed to more people, and his fans actually came up to us at the end of the night to thank us for playing.”
As well as the new album, due out in March, they plan to tour throughout January and February. Watch your back, Doherty; if you don't turn up for gigs, we know other people who will.
Photos by Linda Chasteau