What you need to get booked on a Shockwaves NME Awards Show:
1. Sexual chemistry. There's nothing better than a boy-girl vocal duo, and if (like Blood Red Shoes), the members are pretty, don't share DNA, and the drummer points his drum sticks to the ceiling like an amateur gymnast at the beginning of every song, you've already made it. Breathy overlapping vocals, post-punk serrations and a noise far bigger than the two waifs making it – all that doesn't hurt either. 2. A gimmick. Hot Club de Paris would be your average band singing about the mundane details of being a Northern lad if it weren't for the crucial novelty factor. Clustered round a mic, they start most of their songs with a barbershop-style burst of a capella singing in pitch-perfect close harmony. Is it funny? Yes. Does it make them a good band? No.
3. Onstage antics. The awesomeness of seeing !!! live derives mostly from the fact that there are fucking loads of them. Always good to see a band in which drummers and dancers outweigh guitar players three to one.4. Reverence for tradition. If, like Maximo Park, you go for this option, you can ignore all of the above, and be a completely generic four-piece rock band. This may or may not include: matching outfits, dancing a bit like Pete Doherty, 'anthemic' choruses. Sometimes bands like this up their game when they realise that hungry youngsters are starting to upstage them - and last night we saw Blood Red Shoes really apply some pressure.