Now Beverly Hills is not the Barrowlands. They are cultural polar opposites and I'm not about to say which I prefer. However, there is a bit of Scotland here tonight as it is raining – in LA I think it’s just to welcome The View at the Troubadour, it is full of pretty tartan-miniskirted Asian girls, trendy punks, very glamourous white-toothed Beverly Hill types and arty people in ponchos and hats. Apparently, the balcony has the prized seats. Seats! At a View gig?
Finally, a rather tiresome Canadian band who run over, get off stage after 10pm. The View are itching to get on while Kyle is composing his nerves and songs about fucking Japanese girls. I point out the importance of being ethnically correct in LA so he changes the lyrics to Korean and finally Asian to be more inclusive. Either way, their enthusiasm and short skirts seem to have amped him plenty. Mo and Kieren are more concerned with being able to sample some party life without having to go into a gay bar. I am shown the new merchandise: a "Kill Kyle" t-shirt. I don’t know if now is a good time to tell him irony isn’t appreciated in this city.
But on stage all cultural nonsense disappears in the exhaust fumes of the soaring chords of ‘Grace’. Kyle’s feral squeals and the rarefied breath of those high notes hypnotise the young girls at the front and it ends with a rage of applause. I am trying to contain my hysterics watching smart Los Angelenos rave politely to The View. The band seem more amazed by such civilized consideration, they are more used to a hurled arsenal of bottles, lighters, and glasses of piss as a sign that they are doing their job okay.
But, as soon as the riff for ‘Wasted Little DJs’ starts up, the crowd gets jumping with the Japanese contingent causing mayhem at the front. One young man pogos throughout the one and a half hour set. And the screams are getting louder.
'AB (We Need Treatment)’ (from their recent top 10 in the UK album ‘Cheeky for a Reason’) has the band’s trademark irrepressible energy, retaining an elegance to contrast afterwards with Kyle really letting loose with Dundonian vernacular.
"Ken a mean – fitba in Liverpool… Anyway it’s called Anfield Road. See, even I’m getting confused. Ken." Rabbit-in-headlight stares admit they obviously don’t. But they do understand the song as heads are about to rock off shoulders. ‘Wasteland’ is greeted with increasing vigour although I can tell the band is confused by such demure behaviour from the crowd. The girls have constant seductive smiles and sway about while the older men bounce about and wag heads from side to side. The View make you feel things that should be illegal – they’re so good. The album has not yet reached the States but sober LA is beginning to loosen up and bounce about. In between songs, Kyle indulges in his strongest Dundonian anecdotes at 100mph – eliciting calls for "Subtitles!" and "English please!" (wrong thing to shout at this band). The belting melodies, chopped up rhythms and Kyle’s lyrics scrape the glitter off the ball spinning above. Songs with structure, rock ‘n’ roll and harmonies? This band have made their own formula and perfected it.
Kieren, the bass player, takes over the vocals for ‘Skag Trendy’ – a spiky, ska-inflected account of the darker side of youth in Scotland. The crowd love the surprise and Kieren’s bottled yelps. ‘Hole in the Bed’ is from their new album – elements of the Libertines but with a meaner, tighter melody and fuller harmonies.
Kyle goes into a long Dundonian spiel ending with a comment about an oxymoron. This band itself is an oxymoron – how anything so apparently hard and parochial can transcend expectations and bring out something so intelligent, original and euphorically sophisticated time after time.
It’s been a twenty song-long set – the longest I’ve ever seen them play – but also their fiercest, most fluid and flawless ending with a breathless, non-stop, seamless sequence of 'Same Jeans', 'Superstar Tradesman', 'Sunday' and 'Shock Horror'.
There is no one in here tonight who has forgotten how to clap their hands. The looks on the crowd’s faces and reluctance to leave show they have been blown away by some fresh Scottish air and songs at once random and familiar.
By midnight, the crowd are still politely waiting, hanging about, hoping to hear Kyle say something indecipherable again (which he does). They may be ‘Cheeky for a Reason’ but it works.
Words by Nina Bhadreshwar