Tag Archives: Shifty Disco


The Cellar, Oxford
31st January 2002

It wasn’t until my friend Dan mentioned on the way out that he thought they sounded like The Presidents of the USA that I found the comparison I had been searching for. AM60, the New York band who played at the Shifty Disco 5th anniversary “Songs of Praise” night, do indeed sound like the mid-90s punk/pop band but have a more varied sound than their fellow Americans. More sardonic and laid back, they came across like a cynical older brother to the Presidents’ excitable teenager. I couldn’t work out whether they take themselves more or less seriously, though; one of their songs, plaintive and slower than most of the rest of their set, seemed to be a paean to a “Fat Girl”.

If Britpop had a contemporary American equivalent, then AM60 are nu-US Britpop – less rocky than Wheatus and Blink 182, yet still more modern than the Presidents. They have been compared to De La Soul and Beck, and their style betrays a wide range of influences. Their East Village New York roots seem to be in hip-hop – their former drummer, Mackie, left them to join the Fun Lovin’ Criminals, and their former bass player and sometime artwork contributor, Chuck Treece, is a former member of Urge Overkill.

They played, along with Dustball, on the Shifty Disco live session on John Peel’s Radio 1 programme the night before, and their single from last August, Just A Dream, which had a lot of Evening Session airplay, was instantly recognisable. Their other songs ranged from one with a bossa-nova vibe that bizarrely reminded me of The Girl from Ipanema, to some that made them sound like a garage-rock version of No Doubt around their About a Girl period, combining ska and punk. Their delivery was understated and quite laconic; their 35 minute set wasn’t long enough to be either an especially captivating or dynamic appearance, although I suspect that as headliners in a bigger venue they might rock out a little bit more. However, I will remember the way mainman Chris Root held his guitar quite high, like a teenage George Formby, and his and bassist Leon De Bretagne’s hoodies.

AM60 – with a few more catchy songs like Just a Dream, they could go far.


From The Oxford Student, at some point


Zoe Bicat, Spygirl and Joe Hughes – The Cellar, Oxford – 4th November 2002

British Sea Power – The Zodiac, Oxford – 15th October 2002

Trademark – The Jericho Tavern, Oxford – 29th August 2002

Cumulonimbus, Nervous Testpilot and Blunt Instruments – The Cellar, Oxford – 12th August 2002

a-ha – Royal Albert Hall, London – 25th June 2002

Fischerspooner – The Bridge, London – 30th May 2002

Mansun – The Zodiac, Oxford – 19th May 2002

The Soundtrack of our Lives and Sahara Hotnights – The Zodiac, Oxford – 11th May 2002

AM60 – The Cellar, Oxford – 31st January 2002