Tuesday, 30 June 2015

Gig Review: The Movielife at The Electric Ballroom, Camden 18/6/15

Who remembers Drive Thru Records? During the summer of 2003 I really got into a lot of bands on that label, bands like New Found Glory, Finch, Allister and The Movielife. Sadly The Movielife disbanded in 2003 so I never got the chance to see them live. To my complete joy late last year The Movielife announced some reunion shows and eventually added a London date at Camden's Electric Ballroom. I was already quite excited for this gig and then the support was announced, Gnarwolves and Apologies, I Have None. This was going to be one hell of a night.

I've only been to the Electric Ballroom twice before but it has quickly become one of my favourite venues. There's something about the place that makes it perfect for seeing live music. It's a nice sized space that doesn't feel overly cramped even when full and you can always get a decent view of the stage. The first band to take to the stage were London's Apologies, IHave None. Regular readers of this blog will know how much I love that band so as always I was very excited to see them. As soon as Sat In Vicky Park started the crowd seemed to swell and sang loudly along with the band. Apologies only had half an hour tonight so stormed through as many songs as possible, playing songs from the album London as well as last year's Black Everything EP. The band pulled out all the stops tonight with guitarist Simon brought out a drill to create some fantastic guitar sounds. Despite some issues with the bass (which Gnarwolves Thom  tried to fix) these boys were absolutely fantastic. If you haven't check them out yet you are letting yourself down.

Up next were the crown prince's of UK punk rock - Gnarwolves. I was really interested to see what the crowd would be like for their set. This would be the first time in a while that I'd seen Gnarwolves in a support slot. At their own headlining shows the crowd get's absolutely crazy, there is nonstop stage diving and moshing. It's all in good fun but a bit too rowdy for me so I usually hang back because of the barrier stage diving was not on the agenda. Perhaps this was because of the lack of kids invading the stage but I think this could have been the best performance I've seen Gnarwolves give (and this was my seventh time so I'm hardly new to the band). Thom, Charlie and Max were all flawless and put as much into this performance as they would a headline show, as every band should. Bottle To Bottle and Smoking Kills from the self titled debut album got massive reactions as did old favourites like Community, Stability, Identity and History Is Bunk. There was also a funny moment when the crowd broke into a chorus of Die For The Government by Anti-Flag after Thom mentioned that the last time they played the Electric Ballroom they were supporting the political punk rockers from Pittsburgh. Gnarwolves as always really delivered and proved just why they are rising so quickly. Great fun!

Now it was finally time for The Movielife. I had been waiting for twelve years for this moment, a moment I really thought would never happen. I listened to The Movielife the day of the gig for the first time in a long time and realised something quite special. I loved bands like New Found Glory and Allister back in the day but now when I listen to their music it always makes me feel old and is definitely not something I'd listen to now. Listening to The Movielife, final album Forty Hour Train Back To Penn in particular I never once felt like that. After all these years in doesn't feel dated at all. Full credit to the band for writing an album so wonderfully, it's a mature, catchy pop punk masterpiece. When the band took to the stage you could instantly see in front man Vinnie Caruana's face just how excited he was to be playing these songs again after all this time. A huge smile rarely left the New Yorkers face throughout the set as he and the rest of the band stormed through a set of classic songs. The crowd in the Ballroom loved every single one of them and sung louder and louder. Vinnie spoke about the struggles the band flying over from New York because of delayed flights and how they had to buy new tickets to make sure they made it to London in time for the show. You would have never realised though with the amount of energy and passion all five members of the band put into the show. They were clearly as appreciative of the crowd for turning up and supporting as the crowd were for The Movielife for reforming. God I hope this is a more permanent thing and The Movielife perform more and more because they are still absolutely brilliant.

Now listening to Miss Me by Demon Smiles