Iron Chic, Bangers, You Me & the Atom Bomb, Little Ease @ Prince Albert, Brighton
It’s a fair while since I wrote a live review – just over a year, in fact – which probably has as much to do with my newfound tendency to miss the openers as anything else. It’s not a review of a show if you’re not writing about everyone who played, right? Besides, I used to be mildly annoyed by the people who showed up late (though they weren’t as bad as the people who rocked up to see their mate’s band and left immediately after). Now that I’m one of those people I’m faintly embarrassed by the hypocrisy, but hey: these websites don’t write themselves. Also I actually eat these days.
Anyway, with my hypocritical sell-out loser oldz cred firmly established, here’s a few words about a really awesome show I saw the other week. It was a This One’s For The Crew show and promoter Jay Cross’s own Little Ease opened, but as those in the know will understand this isn’t some tedious act of nepotism. No, Little Ease are – were – an excitingly scrappy and intense melodic fastcore outfit and one which, fronted by Jay, prove highly entertaining. The band are in high spirits firstly because they’re pretty drunk, but secondly because it’s guitarist Luke’s last show with the band. He’s moving to Vietnam the very next day. What better way to see him off than a shitload of pints and an awesome show? Half the people in the room know the band and Jay plays up to it, thrusting himself into the crowd and beaming at familiar faces when he’s not gorilla-stomping about and occasionally forgetting lyrics. The band, with a few slips aside, sound as tight as they are entertaining and kick things with aplomb.
They’re followed by Pompey’s You Me & the Atom Bomb, a band I’ve seen a bunch of times over the years since they formed from the ashes of south coast hardcore favourites Jets vs. Sharks. They’re a real nice bunch of guys, too, and so I feel a little bad when they begin playing to a room only a little over half as full as it was quarter of an hour before. Their more sedate tunes also feel initially underwhelming following the frenetic fun of Little Ease, but fortunately they don’t let it phase them. Within a few songs the room is filling back up and their warm, bright take on the 90s / early 00s Gainesville melodic punk sound has the audience paying rapt attention.
Next up are Cornwall’s Bangers, who are fast becoming a regular fixture in UK punk rock – and deservedly so. I’ve written about them before when I reviewed their collection Dude Trips, and I’m currently working on a review of their latest effort, so I won’t say too much here except to note that I made the mistake of nipping out for a smoke before they played and can’t get anywhere near the front. Instead I stand behind an enormous skinhead and try not to sing along too loud into the back of his dome. The new songs, too, sound great, but no more on them for now huh?
Finally, it’s the band that – awesome support acts aside – everyone is waiting for: Long Island’s Iron Chic. The band seem to have shot out of nowhere over the past year, with their superb album Not Like This finding a spot in any discerning pop-punk fan’s regular rotation. Really, though, they’ve been toiling away for a few years, and on top of that the band began as a side project for members of Latterman and Small Arms Dealer. They’re old hands, which is a relief because although they also look pretty tired and a little drunk they don’t put a step out of place, delivering punk rock anthem after anthem. I’m not sure if the whole room was singing along because I was too busy singing along, you feel me? By the end of the set my throat’s a little hoarse and I’m soaked in sweat, despite barely having moved from the same spot where I’ve stood, slamming my heel up and down like a fucking piston and waving my fist in the air. And then it ends, and I wish it didn’t, even as I eagerly queue to get outside and experience some blessed fresh air.