Monday, 18 November 2019

Album Review: I've Made A Terrible Mistake by Our Souls

Leicester's Our Souls have become a firm favourite of mine since I was sent their debut EP, I Might Drink Myself To Death, at the beginning of the year. Clearly not a band to rest on their laurels, the five piece are already back with their next release – another EP, titled I've Made A Terrible Mistake. I Might Drink Myself To Death was packed full of melodic gruff punk that hooked me straight away. Would I've Made A Terrible Mistake do the same?

The EP opens with To Wound And Wander, Destitute. The track gets the EP off to a blistering start, greeting the listener with some up tempo guitars – immediately getting you pumped up and ready for the vocals to come in. When they do come in, be ready to shout along with a fantastic song about over analysing things and the toll it takes on your mental health. The song really comes alive during the chorus, it's one that will take up a quick residency in your brain and you won't be able to help but sing this to yourself all day long. There's also a great moment during the track where Our Souls deliver a great harmony section that had me salivating at the mouth. The second track, 12312341 showcases the harder side of Our Souls that we haven't heard before. I must admit this took me a little bit of getting used to as I wasn't really expecting it. It's a powerful and aggressive song about being fed up with something and just not caring about it anymore. The song is relentless throughout and will really get you fired up whether it's with a head bang or a full on mosh.

The third track is named Histrionics. Going back to the more melodic style and featuring a delicious bass line in the introduction, this is Our Souls showing the side of themselves that made me fall in love with them in the first place. Fist-in-the-air, sing-alongs and lyrics that look at looking back at the mistakes you've made and continually make, how they affect your life and whether or not you can learn from them. The penultimate song is titled Mental Health. When I read the track listing for I've Made A Terrible Mistake, this song instantly stood out. Mental health is a very big and important topic around a lot of modern punk rock and I'm always keen to hear more songs on the subject. Our Souls sing about the constant battle with your mental health issues. On the track, it's as if they are in conversation with their mind and are basically agreeing to do all the things that you shouldn't do when you're struggling. I really liked this different take on the subject. Last up is Beer Bullet. We were lucky enough to be asked to premiere the video for Beer Bullet on CPRW a few weeks ago, so hopefully you've already heard this track. It's a short hardcore song oozing with venom. I believe the song is about struggling with a drinking problem and finding it hard to quit. It's a short and catchy track that addresses a serious issue.

Our Souls continue to write seriously great songs. If I'm being 100% honest, I definitely prefer the more melodic stuff but the harder stuff is great too. If Our Souls continue to release such great tunes on a regular basis, I'm sure they will have more and more people talking about them.

Stream and download I've Made A Terrible Mistake here:

Like Our Souls here:

This review was written by Colin Clark.

Friday, 15 November 2019

Column: Why We're Doing It Together

By now you've hopefully seen the event I'm helping to put on with my pals Paul from Be Sharp Promotions and Sarah from Shout Louder. The event is titled Do It Together Fest and is taking place at the New Cross Inn in South East London on January 24th and 25th 2020. Buy tickets here – it's going to be smashing.

The big theme for the festival is, of course. Doing It Together. For years, the punk rock scene all around the world has had strong DIY ethos but in recent years I've noticed a change. Things aren't so much about doing it yourself but instead collaborating and "doing it together." We want to celebrate this ethos, hence why we're coming together to attempt to put on one of the best weekends of the year. (It also happens to fall nicely between our birthdays.) In this column, I plan to talk about all the positives in "doing it together."

Pretty much ever since Paul and I became friends, he's told me I should start putting on shows. I've always said no, for two reasons. The first is that there really isn't an audience for the bands I'd like to put on in Bedford. Secondly, it looks like a lot of stress and hard work and my mental health just isn't up for that. However, when Paul and Sarah approached me about putting on a birthday gig I jumped at the opportunity. I'd been wanting to learn what goes into putting on a show properly for ages and this was a great chance to do so. Plus I was getting a chance to have input as to who plays the gig. (And it was a fantastic way to spend my birthday.) Putting on a show with other people, especially people who I know are experienced in doing it, would take away a lot of the stress from me – this was the biggest reason why I jump aboard DITFest.

A big bonus about doing something like this with other people is that you can bounce ideas off each other. Obviously Paul, Sarah and myself are very good friends and aren't afraid to share thoughts and ideas with each other. Being the least experienced of the trio but with a huge willingness to learn, I've had loads of questions about things and the best way to do things. Discussing the best way to do certain things and how we should do things has hopefully helped everything run smoothly.

Between the three of us, we had a lot of ideas for cool things we could include at DITFest to make it stand out from your typical gig. We started with a massive list of bands we'd like. Obviously, time restraints meant we couldn't have all the bands on the list so we worked together on narrowing the list down to fourteen. Fourteen bands seems like quite a lot to organise but with three of us doing it it really made things much easier and it wasn't long before the line up was sorted.

Dividing jobs between the three of us really has made it easier on us all. If one person has seemingly been taking on more than the other two, we've been able to step in and take jobs of each other's hands to stop them piling up and hopefully preventing any unnecessary stress. When it's been needed we've even been able to use other resources to help with jobs that aren't in our own particular skill sets. Thanks for your design help, Emma. I can only imagine how much harder it would be to put together this gig by yourself. I just can't see the fun in it and if it's not fun, what's actually the point?

Something I've really enjoyed about doing DITFest with Sarah and Paul is just having the opportunity to converse with my friends. Often, whilst working on DITFest, the chat has strayed away from what we're working on just moved onto random chat. That's been nice. They're my friends and I like talking to them. Sometimes we get bogged down with things that aren't important and we don't talk to our friends enough. I'm really looking forward to being able to celebrate the birthdays of two of my friends in January. Last year Sarah and Paul put on separate gigs so I could only celebrate with one of them. Them doing a gig together (with me) means that this year I can celebrate with both of them! Doing It Together is better.

I'm super proud of the line up we've put together for DITFest. It's pretty varied, reflecting all of our personal tastes. This means that we're getting some bands that might not be frequent at the New Cross Inn for Be Sharp shows or that there's not as many bands that you might associate with Shout Louder (or Lockjaw Records that Sarah helps to run). This variation will hopefully help the bands play to some different audiences than they may usually and probably gain them some more fans. This is a fantastic thing.

In summary, Doing It Yourself is great but Doing It Together is even better. Come celebrate with us on January 24th and 25th.

This column was written by Colin Clark.

Thursday, 14 November 2019

Top Tens: Top Ten Unreviewed Albums (Part 3)

The amount of fantastic new releases in 2019! We missed so many for full reviews so Colin is working his way back through 2019 and sharing some gems that weren't originally featured on CPRW. This is part three of this series. Feel free to go back and read the other two posts in this series so far.

Mike Vidal – The Diners
Mike Vidal is the lead singer and guitarist of New Jersey punk band Nine Eighteen. This year he decided to swap his electric guitar for an acoustic one to release a solo EP. Recorded by the legendary Pete Steinkopf of The Bouncing Souls, The Diners features four stripped back acoustic punk and folk songs. Mike's gravelly vocal really shines on this superb EP.

Blind Man Death Stare – Comin' In Hot
Melbourne skate punk band Blind Man Death Stare have certainly made a name for themselves in the UK since releasing Comin' In Hot. I criminally overlooked the band when the album was released in March and am extremely pleased I eventually made my way back to it. The Australian skate punk scene really is thriving at the moment and Blind Man Death Stare do a fantastic job of standing out with a more "rough around the edges" sound. I'm excited to see the band back in the UK next year with a set at Manchester Punk Festival in April.

Dan Vapid & The Cheats – Three
Dan Vapid is best known as the guitarist from Chicago pop punk bands Screeching Weasel and The Riverdales, as well as the lead singer of The Methadones. Since 2012 he has also been releasing albums with his band Dan Vapid & The Cheats. This year they released their third album, imaginatively titled Three, and it's another album of Ramonescore pop punk bangers. Vapid has one of my favourite voices in the genre and it's as good as ever here. Three is one of the best power pop albums you'll hear all year. Probably not a big surprise given Vapid's history in the genre.

Versus You – Worn And Loved
Luxembourg's Versus You have been together since 2005 and have been steadily making a name for themselves throughout Eastern Europe. Worn And Loved was my first exposure to the band and I quickly became a fan. Blurring the lines between pop and punk rock, Worn And Loved is full of thoughtful and introspective songs by a band that are now masters of their craft. The album also includes a great cover of Straight Into Darkness by Tom Petty And The Heartbreakers.

Madaline – "It Is What It Is"
There have been some great ska punk albums released in the United States this year and one of my favourites as been "It Is What It Is" by Madaline. The North Texas seven piece play an energetic brand of third wave with superb dual vocals and some frantic brass lines. There's not a song on the album that will fail to get you dancing and it's always great to hear more and more fantastic underground ska bands from the States.

Patch Kid – Guts
Patch Kid are an indie punk/math rock three piece from Brooklyn, New York. The four song EP Guts is a refreshing take on the indie punk sound. On Guts, Patch Kid have produced a varied EP that showcases a variety of styles but also remains firmly Patch Kid. By that I mean that despite playing some different styles, you'll know instantly it's Patch Kid. This says a lot about the songwriting ability of the band.

Blind Adam & The Federal League – Mansions On The Boulevard
A-F Records always put out top quality releases so I don't know how I managed to miss Mansions On The Boulevard by Blind Adam & The Federal League. Combining punk rock with a little bit of country, I quickly fell in love with the three songs on this release. The Chicago based band play that fists-in-the-air style that so many of us love these days. I love the everyman quality to the songs. It feels like music by the people, for the people. This is how punk rock should be.

Thurman – A Day Called X
Thurman are a powerful emotional punk rock trio from Portland, Oregon. A Day Called X wasn't an EP that grabbed me immediately, as sonically it's not really my go to genre, but the more I listened to it the more it grew on me. Featuring big guitars, pounding drums and vocals that vary from indie pop to emo howling, Thurman do a wonderful job in keeping you on your toes throughout the EP. I imagine Thurman are absolutely fantastic to see live.

Nightmarathons – Missing Parts
I had every intention of reviewing Missing Parts by Nightmarathons when it was released in March but sadly never got around to it. I've felt bad about this all year because Missing Parts is a stunning album. All eleven songs are big bangers and always get me pumped whenever I listen. The Pittsburgh four piece play up tempo gruff punk with brilliant gang vocals and harmonies (my favourite thing about all songs) that needs to be shouted along to. Missing Parts is truly one of the best albums of the year. Hopefully nobody reading this overlooked it like I did.

The Muslims – Mayo Supreme
Mayo Supreme by The Muslims could be one of the most important punk albums to be released in 2019. It's a striking album as the band spread their political and social message by merging classic punk rock and afropunk along with elements of hardcore and rap rock. The album is relentless and I'm surprised that it didn't explode in the scene in the same way that G.L.O.S.S. did a couple of years ago. If you haven't listened to Mayo Supreme yet then I implore you to do so, not just for the music but for the message and content within.

This top ten was written by Colin Clark.

Wednesday, 13 November 2019

Album Review: Deluded Grandeur by Gareth James

It's not very often that we review two releases from the same artist in the same year. It's not that often that an artist would do two separate releases in the same year. Second In Line's Gareth James has done just that though so we are reviewing it. On the heels of his debut acoustic EP Just Lately comes Deluded Grandeur. We enjoyed Just Lately so expected good things from Deluded Grandeur. Let's check it out.

The first of the three songs on the EP is named Feed The Greed, Nah! Eat The Rich. What struck me immediately was the urgency that comes from Gareth's acoustic guitar. It hooked me in and made me very keen to see how the song progressed. The gravelly tones in Gareth's vocals are right up my street, they sound impassioned and make me believe he really cares about what he's singing about. With its upbeat, pacey melody and big chorus, this is exactly how I enjoy my acoustic punk. I would imagine that the second track, Deluded Grandeur #23, is a very special one for Gareth. This is because his son Jack appears to provide some back vocals. This is a less urgent, softer track that questions why we procrastinate on things and don't just get things done. The highlight is, of course, the chorus where Jack joins Gareth to provide some sweet harmonies. The third and final song is named There For You. The opening of the song is massive, with Gareth's vocals really shining over the quiet guitar. Live, this is likely to get some attention from those annoying folks making a lot of noise at the bar. This whole song is just crying out for a massive sing-along, the way Gareth sings as well as the massive hooks spread throughout the song, is just screaming "sing this with me now!" The best choice to finish the EP.

Deluded Grandeur again showcases the more thoughtful and softer side of Gareth James – not something you often get to witness with Second In Line. Clearly a talented songwriter and musician, I'm really enjoying this acoustic side project he is throwing himself into.

Stream and download Deluded Grandeur here:

Like Gareth James here:

This review was written by Colin Clark.

Tuesday, 12 November 2019

Album Review: Get It Together by MakeWar

One of the biggest pleasures I've had in punk rock in the last few years is watching the growth and progression of New York's MakeWar. I first discovered them when they were booked to play Book Yer Ane Fest in Dundee in 2016. I fell in love with their debut album self-titled album. I loved the emotion and honesty in the songwriting as well as the big hooks and sing-along choruses. Unfortunately, I missed their set at the festival due to a Mega Bus and a traffic jam. The following year, they released the excellent Developing A Theory Of Integrity on Red Scare Industries and I got to see them play a packed out show at The Fest In Gainesville as well as a show to about seven people in London. This month the trio released their third album, this time on Fat Wreck Chords, titled Get It Together. The couple of singles they released before the album came out really wet my appetite for the album and I couldn't wait for its release date.

Moving to Fat Wreck Chords will surely put a lot more eyes onto MakeWar so this opening track had to serve as a great introduction as to what the band are all about. Hopeless Dreamer not only does this but really leaves you wanting more. (It’s a good thing there's another ten songs following this!).The track actually starts pretty quietly with the volume and tempo of the song gradually building as the song progresses. Much like Developing A Theory Of Integrity, just from this opening track it's clear that Get It Together is going to be full of massive sing-alongs. Up next is My Bones which is a song about dealing with your anxiety issues. From the start there is such a big feeling to the song with an explosive beginning that hits you with a jolt. MakeWar lead singer Jose is a fantastic storytelling songwriter, making it seem as if he's having a private conversation with you. This really helps make you feel involved with the song and lets you feel what he going through in the song. It also makes it very relatable for anyone who is going through similar things. No Excuses is perhaps the heaviest sounding song MakeWar have released so far, actually drawing comparisons to Rise Against. The heavier sound goes along with the angry tone of the song. It's about all of the absolutely terrible behaviours directed at minorities. It's ridiculous that in 2019 songs like this are still being written as people STILL can't see past differences that don't matter in the slightest. The lines "now we fight about the differences, that some of us just carry, in our blood and in our genes and the place my mom was born, retired men are freaking out with all these kids, that are coming out, leave them alone! and continue living your boring reality, they are superstars, and you are nothing!" were really powerful.

After the ferocity of No Excuses, the next track Squeeze slows things down somewhat. It starts softly before gradually moving into a grunge sound that was quite unexpected but very well done by MakeWar. Going back to the topic of mental health, Squeeze tackles the subject of dealing with a panic attack and how it often feels like you're going round in circles. Like I said before, this grungey sound was unexpected but it gives it a moody tone that I thought worked exceptionally well for the subject of the song. It's also great to hear MakeWar trying new things on their third album. No Más is another song that sees MakeWar doing things a little differently. Showing off a bit of the band’s latino heritage – Jose is from Venezuela and bass player Edwin is from Colombia – the verses on the song are sung in Spanish and the choruses in English. This is a great tool in the getting the track’s message across. Translated into English, No Más means No More. The song is about being different, not sticking to what's expected and clichés. On my first listen of Get It Together, one of the stand out songs was American Futbol. The song is about breaking down borders and not putting up walls and working together with everyone. It seems a pretty simple concept when you think about it (oh the world, what are you doing!). There's a line that sums up the message of the song perfectly – "we are all in this together, on this tiny marble, made out of dirt and water." The song also talks about how the politicians and government use things like border issues to distract from the real issues such as global warming and distribution of wealth. This is a track that really makes you think about the world and what's really important. Sails was one of the songs that was released in the lead up to Get It Together. This mid tempo track oozes with emotion. It's kind of ballady as the band sing a song about travelling to a new place and looking to make a better life for yourselves. I can see why this track was picked as one of the singles as it's more accessible for new listeners of MakeWar, it's a bit poppier than many of the other songs and has some great hooks.

The eighth song, Inmunda Realidad, is completely in Spanish. The track’s title translates as Unclean Reality and the song is about the racist abuse immigrants receive in America (and sadly I'm sure in many other parts of the world) when all they want is to live their lives happily and safely. This is a heavier sounding MakeWar song with some chunky bass parts. It sees the band taking steps into the melodic skate punk genre, something that would really attract fans of the traditional Fat Wreck Chords sound. Oh, Brother is another track that the band released in the build up to Get It Together and boy did this song get folk excited for what was to come. It's an autobiographical song as Jose sings about discovering punk and it becoming the most important thing in your life, then getting stuck in a life you hate because you feel like it's the right thing to do, before eventually realising what you should be doing with your life. It's an inspiring song, particularly the final verse as Jose sings "I want you to follow, what makes you feel different, I want you to struggle, pay your dues, get blisters, I want you to dream big, bigger than I ever did, I want you to fight for it, against the odds, I want you to fall in love again, against the rules, I want you to lose your voice too, screaming your heart out! Sing your heart out!" The penultimate song is titled Hands On The Tyrant. This is a song about learning all you can about a political situation in another country from somebody who has lived there before making judgement and getting involved. This track really did make me think about my approach to foreign politics and how I have very little knowledge on what's going on in many parts of the world. Last up is the album’s title track, Get It Together. The song is about living in the moment and not spending all of your time glued to your phone. Take the time to be nice to people, help and support your friends and the things you care about. We're all guilty of spending too much time staring at nothing on our phones and we could all improve ourselves if we did this less. A great, positive and inspiring way to end the album.

MakeWar are continuing to get better and better with every album they release. On Get It Together, MakeWar tackle a variety of different issues in the world – whether it be mental health, politics or just growing up and have made an album that will be relatable in some aspect for everyone. They have thrown in a few different styles to their sound but still sound very much like MakeWar. I'm sure this is, in part, due to Jose's distinctive gravelly vocal. If you're new to the band, Get It Together is a great place to start before going back through their discography. If you're a long time MakeWar fan, Get It Together is another great step on the band’s continuing journey. I hope it doesn't end any time soon!

Stream and download Get It Together here:

Like MakeWar here:

This review was written by Colin Clark.

Monday, 11 November 2019

Album Review: Uncle Dan by Uncle Dan (by Emma Prew)

Uncle Dan are a five-piece band from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, playing a brand of punk rock that they call ‘Drunk Punk’. At the end of October they released a new five-track self-titled EP which caught my attention on Bandcamp.

The EP kicks off with Wasted, Too and a distinct drum roll type introduction. When the vocals come in they are are pretty gruff and rough around the edges which works well alongside the fuzzy guitars. It’s certainly not a polished sound but that is fine by my. I have to say, I was not expecting the trumpet that comes into play about halfway through the song and lead into a chunky bass line before the vocalist screams ‘I just wanna go back’ over and over again. Wasted, Too is a nostalgic and reflective song and a fine opening to the record. The macabre titled My BFF Death is up next. Despite beginning gently and slowly, you can tell that Uncle Dan are about to explode with this song. When the song does kick off properly, it’s fast paced and ferocious as the band sing ‘I wanna burn, wanna burn, Wanna melt into a puddle, You can turn me to stone, And smash me into rubble’. With lyrics about wanting to die and death being ‘a friend of mine’, it’s certainly not the most optimistic of songs but it does seem like it’s pretty cathartic for the band to sing and play.

I loved the opening of third track, Parking Lot Seagulls. Gang vocals accompanied by drums is definitely a great way to grab the attention of your listener. If I didn’t have the lyrics in front of me (thank you, Bandcamp) I’d probably struggle to understand exactly what is being sung as it’s so fast. As if to deliver its message home, the first verse is repeated twice – ‘Empty bellies, empty pockets, Yeah, we're hungry and broke, And we're barely making money, We're just staying afloat, Take a drag and make it last, ’Cause its our last pack of smokes, Yeah, whatever man I'll see you at the show.’ The musical delivery is a bit garage punk in style, perhaps not too dissimilar to The Hives but much more raw and DIY – and that’s what this song is about, being in a DIY punk band. Probably the highlight of the EP for me – it even features a heavily distorted guitar solo.

Humble Abode has a seemingly slow start but both the volume and pace soon pick up. You may be able to guess from the song’s title but Humble Abode is about welcoming someone into your home to drink beer and order in food. What I didn’t expect from the song however was a section of the lyrics to be in Spanish. Uncle Dan are full of surprises on this EP and, as if to cement that theory, they bring back the trumpet and proceed to play a sort of mariachi meets almost metal section at the end of the song. It’s pretty bizarre but I also really like it. The final song of the EP is called A Feathered Friend (A Living Dinosaur). Like Humble Abode, this song also has a slow start but this time the slower pace continues through the first verse. The pace picks up for the chorus where the vocals verge on screaming before slowing down again for the second verse. The contrast works really well and add plenty of emotional impact to the song. If I’m interpreting the lyrics correctly, A Feathered Friend is not so much about a feathered friend as it is about a woman who feels caged like a bird. It’s a pretty angry song and ends the EP with a bang.

Uncle Dan was another great little Bandcamp discovery for us here at CPRW and, if you like your punk rock a little raw, you should definitely check them out too.

You can stream and download the EP on Bandcamp here and like Uncle Dan on Facebook here.

This review was written by Emma Prew.

Friday, 8 November 2019

Gig Review: Codename Colin’s Halloween Party at Oddfellows Arms, Hemel Hempstead 1/11/19

Considering that we don’t actually live in London, Colin and I only occasionally go to gigs that aren’t in the big smoke. Last Friday however we ventured less than 40 miles to Hemel Hempstead which is, of course, the home of Codename Colin. We’d never been to the venue or town before (Colin actually said he’d only heard of the place since knowing the band – I’m from Milton Keynes so I know it as being on the trainline to London) so it would be interesting to see what a gig there was like. There was also the added lure of top ska punk bands Filthy Militia and Last Edition plus local pop punkers Saving Sebastian, as well as the fact that the gig was Halloween themed – any excuse to wear my skeleton dress. We arrived fairly early and found the Oddfellows Arms, a small live music pub in the Apsley area of Hemel Hempstead, suitably decked out for Halloween and already reasonably busy. 

Filthy Militia were the first band on and, despite having some trouble with trains out of London and arriving later than they’d have liked, they quickly embraced their role as opening band to get the room moving. It’s somehow been over a year since we saw Filthy Militia (despite seeing singer and guitarist Frosty regularly at the New Cross Inn), so we were particularly looking forward to their set. Joined by Snowy from Codename Colin on trumpet, Filthy Militia played a brilliant set comprised of tracks from their 2018 EP, Innocent Until Proven Filthy, such as Storm Warning and Little Sister, as well as some new songs – notably one about ‘everyone’s favourite zombie’, Jesus. We were also treated to a rendition of Monster Mash which, obviously, got the Oddfellows Arms singing and dancing. The evening was off to a great start, that’s for sure.

The pub was starting to pack out a bit more by the time the second band were due on stage. It turns out that Saving Sebastian are rather popular in their hometown and we soon understood why. The four-piece’s brand of pop punk isn’t normally the sort of thing I’d listen to but there’s no denying that these chaps know how to put on a fun live performance. It’s full of all the banter and jokes you’d expect from a pop punk band – plus one of their members was dressed like Geri of the Spice Girls – including when they said they were going to play a Blink 182 song and proceeded to play Linoleum by NOFX. Other than the cover, their setlist consisted of tracks from their two EPs with a particular highlight being Hometown, for obvious reasons, from this year’s Minefield EP. We’ve seen Saving Sebastian twice before, at the New Cross Inn, but I think I enjoyed them more in their home setting.

Leicester’s Last Edition are one of my favourite ska punk bands in the UK at the moment and so I was understandably rather eager to see them play again – even if they were the band of the line-up that we’d seen most recently. All ska punk bands are fun live but there’s something about Last Edition that makes me want to dance that little bit harder. It’s probably those wonderfully infectious sax lines but it might also have something to do with how much fun the band seem to be having when they perform. Tracks such as This One, Last Orders and the instrumental Skank Only from their 2016 album, Best Foot Forward, were well received alongside some new as yet unreleased songs. One thing that’s for certain is that I can’t wait for them to release their next EP or album. Vocalist and guitarist Matty mentioned at one point that Last Edition have spent their last two Halloween weekends playing with Codename Colin so it was nice to be there for the third time.

Many alcoholic beverages later (not for me, I was driving), it was finally time for Codename Colin to take to the stage. Filthy Militia, Saving Sebastian and Last Edition had got the audience suitably warmed up but I expected that Codename Colin would take things to the next level. Opening their set with a statement about how we were supposed to have left the EU on the 1st of November and, singer and guitarist, Charlie proclaiming ‘We love Europe’ before bursting into the beginning of The Final Countdown was just perfect. The song had the crowd singing and dancing from the very start and it didn’t relent when the band moved onto their own songs. The band, who are now a five-piece, were joined by their ex-saxophone player Sam who no longer lives in the UK (I can’t recall if it was Sweden or Switzerland that he’s moved to!) making Codename Colin a six-piece for one night only. This was our first time seeing Codename Colin in any shape or form since they released their excellent debut album, Escape From Everything, in June this year. We’ve listened to the album a lot at CPRWHQ so it was great to hear and sing along to my favourites from the album including World’s Gonna End – a song that feels increasingly more apt as the days go by – and Dreamstate. As well as their killer original songs, Codename Colin are rather good at covers as already displayed with their opening song. Having seen the band cover a variety of pop and rock songs over the years, my absolute favourite has to be Feeder’s Just A Day. Throwing it into their Halloween party set was definitely a good idea as the crowd lapped it up – I guess turns out us punks really like early 2000s indie rock. We also enjoyed Codename Colin’s rendition of Five’s Keep On Movin’ perhaps a little too much. The band played for over an hour, with some breaks in between songs to hand out prizes and allow Charlie’s vocals to recover, but it flew by. Finishing up with Escape From Everything, the album of the same name’s closing track, we were all left with smiles on our faces.

I didn’t know what to expect from a gig in Hemel Hempstead but it was an excellent night. Should the opportunity arise, we will certainly be returning to Oddfellows Arms – particularly if Codename Colin are playing.

This gig review was written by Emma Prew. (Rubbish photography also by Emma.)