The Fighting Cocks in Kingston was the setting for an eclectic night of punk rock. Those love sick criminals Masked Intruder (whose second album I reviewed here) were back in town joined by hardcore punks Throwing Stuff and Survival Tour alumnus Sam Russo.
A pretty sizeable crowd gathered early to see Haverhill’s Sam Russo. Arguably the king of the UKs underground acoustic punk scene Russo is a very endearing performer. His laid back style on stage manages to put everyone in the room at ease. Whether you know any of his songs or it’s your first time hearing him he manages to put you under his spell. A side from a couple of noisy folks at the bar everyone was hanging on his every word as Russo sang about divorce, heartbreak and letting go of love. Between songs there was some fun banter between Russo and the lads from Throwing Stuff –I remember the term “slicker than tears on a dildo” being used. I forget why. Highlights of the set for me were Dry Shampoo, Factory Rain and Holding On, where the Throwing Stuff boys added some do-do-doohs.
Up next was Manchester’s Throwing Stuff. Throwing Stuff are a band I have been aware of for ages, constantly seeing their name pop up o various tours but I’ve never had the chance to see them live or really listen to their music so wasn’t really sure what they would be like. Throwing Stuff hit the Fighting Cocks like a whirlwind, especially front man Ben who throws himself around the room whilst screaming at the top of his lungs. This is some fast aggressive hardcore punk and it’s sooooo much fun to watch. Despite having a stand in guitarist the band seems tight and storm through their set in no time at all. Honestly this style is not something I really listen to a lot but I love seeing it live. Great set by Throwing Stuff.
The Fighting Cocks was now very close to full and brimming with anticipation for Masked Intruder. The Wisconsin based pop punk four piece are one of the most entertaining bands to come out in a long time. I wrote in the album review about what good songwriters the band are and how they don’t really need the criminal gimmick to win people over. Well live they are absolutely brilliant and I forgot they were even wearing masks during their set, you just don’t notice them once they get playing, and you are too taken away with the brilliance of their songs. On record the songs are more pop than punk but live it’s a different story. Amps are cranked up to the max and Masked Intruder put on a full on punk rock assault. The sugary sweet vocals and the fantastic harmonies are still in full effect but played with a lot more intensity.
Kicking off with Stick ‘Em Up from their debut album the crowd are involved straight away. On stage with them today is Officer Bradford, watching over them. Before the power of rock and roll gets the better of him and he joins in the crowd singing dancing and crowd surfing. Intruder Green also got involved with the crowd, finding a partner to dance with during one song. I can’t say enough just how much fun Masked Intruder are when you seem them live, whether playing a song or engaging with the crowd between songs. Many pretty girls were spoken to whilst they abused their boyfriends. The set was full of highlights but the main ones being Heart Shaped Guitar, where they got a lady from the crowd to sing Maura from Mixtapes lines (who done an excellent job), their cover of the NOFX classic Linoleum which the crowd went nuts for and I Fought The Law which was great live.
This had been a fantastically fun and entertaining gig. Even with the random drunk guy who felt the need to kiss me because he liked my Murderburgers tee-shirt. Masked Intruder are probably now up there with the very best live bands in the scene and are a treat any time you get to see them live.
Check out Sam Russo here: https://specialistsubject.bandcamp.com/album/storm-lp
Check out Throwing Stuff here: https://throwingstuff.bandcamp.com/
Check out Masked Intruder here: https://www.facebook.com/maskedintruder
Now listening to Hit Me With Your Best Shot by Pat Benatar