NIC ARMSTRONG & THE THIEVES opening for Oasis with Jet at Molson Amphitheatre (909 Lakeshore West), Friday (June 17). $19.50-$47.50. 416-870-8000.
Neil Tennant, Sting, Eric Burdon and Mark Knopfler may disagree, but the luckiest Geordie in Britain right now would have to be 25-year-old rock 'n' roll wunderkind Nic Armstrong.
Currently enjoying a pint at his Nottingham local during a breather between his European tour with Modfather Paul Weller and his North American blitz with Oasis, Armstrong was actually sitting in the same place this time last year.
Only then, our kid wasn't contemplating overnight international stardom. He was thinking more about how the hell he was going to parlay four years of art-college watercolour classes into a paying job. But everything changed for Armstrong when his take-charge girlfriend decided to submit his poorly recorded three-song cassette demo to a Dazed & Confused magazine talent search contest.
No, Armstrong didn't win, but his surprise second-place finish got the attention of the people at the One Little Indian label, who were impressed enough with his songwriting skills to sign him on the spot and pay for a record that's miraculously won widespread critical acclaim. Only in the movies, you say?
"That's not bullshit," insists Armstrong taking a sip of his bevvy. "It's all true. I was on the verge of giving up this music thing when I got a call inviting me to this awards ceremony for coming in second in the contest.
"The next thing I know, I'm sitting at a table with all these record company people telling me they want to sign me up. My life's been funny that way. I'm always falling into things."
Just like that plum opening spot for Paul Weller on his tours of Europe and the UK. Apparently, last November Weller heard Armstrong's debut disc, The Greatest White Liar, and was so impressed by the slapdash brilliance of the tunes - which at times recall the early thrashing of the Kinks and Small Faces - that he started telling everyone who'd listen that it was his favourite spin of the year.
Armstrong and his newly assembled Thieves backing group were Weller's natural choice of tour companions.
Even the way Armstrong describes how his album was recorded with White Stripes production guru Liam Watson at Toe Rag Studios makes it sound like a fluke that he wound up with anything worth releasing.
"It was my first time ever in a professional studio of any kind. The first day I went in with my songbook and this drummer I'd never played with before. We didn't even rehearse. I turned to the first song, showed him how it went, and we recorded one after the other - just blitzed right through it.
"Liam did a great job. You can hear all the little kinks and minor mistakes that usually get taken out by the computer technology today.
"I guess it's not the typical way of recording, and next time we might do things differently, but I think everything worked out all right."