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Happy to play hop concert

I always admire bands that go that extra mile for the fans .

I always admire bands that go that extra mile for the fans . . . the ones that always play the gig, even when circumstances would have lesser acts checking out their contracts for cancellation clauses.

Take New Young Pony Club. I saw them play two stunning sets on consecutive days at Bestival on the Isle of Wight last summer, despite one of their number picking up a nasty, dance-related injury.

Singer Tahita Bulmer whoops up a storm on stage and managed to twist her ankle towards the end of their first set.

I was expecting to see her on crutches for the second show, and half thought they'd pull out of the gig altogether.

Instead, she performed the whole set dancing in a "hopping frantically on one leg" style, waggling her heavily-bandaged ankle in the air all the while.

NYPC are a happy-go-lucky crew but I discovered when I talked to guitarist Andy Spence recently that there's a phrase being bandied about to describe their music that makes them see red . . . "New Rave".

Sometime early last year, Klaxons front-man, Jamie Reid was being interviewed by a music magazine when he flippantly said "We're not a New Wave band, we're New Rave!" and inadvertently spawned a media monster.

Instantly, a scene was created where any band with guitars who made music you can dance to were deemed New Rave, and some aren't too happy about it.

"New Rave, what's that? I don't know what you're talking about!", Andy told me. "I don't see what's wrong with dance- punk as a description. That's how we like to define ourselves.

"So let's just call it dance-punk and ignore everything else, shall we?" Dance-punk it is, then.

Whatever you want to call NYPC, you can't deny that they make music designed with dance-floors in mind.

Recent single Ice Cream is catchy, pure pop genius that recalls Heart of Glass-era Blondie and Grace Jones at her best.

Lyrically, though, it's a dark little number about the sexual objectification of women, which is something you don't get from the likes of Girls Aloud very often.

Andy - who co-writes with Tahita - tells me that creating mindless, chirpy tunes isn't something the band ever want to do.

"We try and make catchy songs that have something about them. Songs that stick in your brain but you enjoy them being there . . . that's the music we want to make."

NYPC play Newcastle Uni on February 8. Tickets £12.50. Call 0191-239 3926 or visit www.union.ncl.ac.uk/entertainments

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