The sellout crowd was energetic and appreciative throughout Modern English's set at the 9:30 club Wednesday night, despite the saunalike conditions. There was no doubt when the song came around at the end of the set, however, that they had really come to hear the band's 1983 semi-hit "I Melt With You." The band certainly milked it for all it was worth, even leading a sing-along, in which most were eager to join.
Unfortunately, it's by far Modern English's catchiest tune, with hooks aplenty, something most of its songs don't have. What the band's songs do have are the same tempos, the same strummy major guitar chord arrangements and the same passionless droning vocals. Perhaps the listless playing could be attributed to the indoor weather, but even its better songs such as "Hands Across the Sea" and "After the Snow" came across flat.
The Jack Rubies, another British band getting lots of attention, opened the show with a lively set of derivative guitar pop. Trying to set itself apart by adding a percussionist, the band simply came across as quirky, though it shone on a few tunes such as "Tequila Bible."