Over the weekend, one of the newspapers published an article entitled ‘Does the world need another indie band?’ on the phenomenon variously known as ‘landfill indie’ or ‘mortgage indie’: those generic guitar bands (invariably white, invariably male, with names invariably beginning ‘The’) who supposedly see the life of a rock musician simply as “… a career path – a way of making money very quickly.” Tonight’s gig is a throwback to earlier, more innocent times. C86 and all that. It is a warm-up for this weekend’s Indietracks festival whose lineup, with the exception of The Wedding Present, has never troubled the pop charts and could not plausibly be accused of being in it for the money. Indeed the manager of one of the bands tells me that they will be making a loss through attending the festival – effectively paying to play. First up are Pocketbooks. They are obviously going all out to be twee. Really twee. All the clichés are in place: a skinny boy who can’t sing, a girl with angular hair who can, a bespectacled guitarist, and a few obligingly fey audience members who keep their feet planted while rolling their torsos. But with their clipped vocals and mannered keyboards the band come across as less Sarah records, more a home counties Beautiful South. As a few grown men and women swoon to their childlike lyrics about ‘marker pens’ and ‘school nights,' I find it a slightly queasy sight – akin to watching one of those documentaries about adults who wear nappies. Over from Australia, The Zebras deservedly draw the biggest crowd of the evening, sounding considerably beefier live than they do on record (a welcome antidote to their limp-wristed predecessors.) Like an antipodean Teenage Fanclub they appropriate the jangling guitars and vocal harmonies of The Byrds and Big Star. But there are also hints of their compatriots The Go-Betweens in their rhythmic variety and habit of catching you off guard at least once a song with a deft chord change. It’s all topped off with some fantastic twanging guitar solos. Sweetly melancholic. The crowd has halved by the time headliners Airport Girl take the stage. Their last album, 2007’s Slow Light, marked a move away from indie pop into alt-country territory. But while critically acclaimed - deservedly so – it divided longstanding fans with many finding the slower-paced songs and lack of immediate choruses a turn off. Tonight’s show seems to acknowledge this with a set list comprised mainly of old favourites – a festival-pleasing ‘greatest hits’ set, as it were. So we get the early-Pavement-esque ‘Power Yr Trip’ and the tuneful thrashy pop of ‘Salinger Wrote’ but only a couple of tracks from Slow Light (the stately waltz and slide guitar of ‘I’ve Seen Mexico’ but sadly not the magisterial ‘There’s A Crisis In Your Past’.) While these old songs have an undeniable head-nodding, toe-tapping energy, I am left hoping that this is just a temporary move to appease the Indietracks demographic and not a permanent retreat.