Tuesday, 7 July 2015

Gig Review: NOFX and Alkaline Trio at Brixton Academy 5/7/15

When this year's Warped Tour UK line up it was announced I don't think I've ever seen a line up get so much hate. It got me thinking of the old Warped Tour days when bands such as NOFX, Alkaline Trio and Lagwagon helped to build the festival into the biggest travelling festival in the world. This past week those three legendary bands have been on a UK tour, I was lucky enough to catch them at the Brixton Academy this past Sunday for the final night. This is what happened.

The first band up were legendary UK skacore act Capdown. I couldn't have been more excited when I learned that Capdown had been added to this show as Capdown are one of the most well respected and successful bands to emerge from the UK underground scene. They don't tour much anymore so when they do play shows I always do my utmost to see them when they do. I finished work early on gig day to make sure I was at Brixton early, I arrived at the train station on time only to discover train delays. Balls! I had flashbacks. This happened last time I was due to see Capdown, playing with The Skints and Me First & The Gimme Gimmes at Christmas also at Brixton. That night I managed to arrive in time to see a couple of songs. Tonight, despite my quickest dash across London I only arrived to see one Capdown song. I was annoyed but there was one silver lining - the one song that I got to see was Ska Wars.

Next up were the legendary Lagwagon. The Californian band have been going for twenty five years now, last releasing the album Hang last year (reviewed here). Coming on stage to the theme from The A-Team the band burst into life with the opening songs After You My Friend and Falling Apart. I was especially pleased to hear Falling Apart as it was one of the first Lagwagon songs I ever heard and had never seen it live before. They played three songs from Hang, Made Of Broken Parts, Obsolete Absolute and Western Settlement and all sounded absolutely fantastic live and got a great reaction from the crowd. One problem with such long running bands is that crowds often only want to hear the old stuff so for the new songs to get a positive reaction shows just how good they are. Lagwagon really looked like they were enjoying themselves on stage, which is great to see after being together as a band for so long. In Dave Raun they have one of the most underrated drummers in punk rock and deserves a huge amount of praise for the high quality of his performance. The band finished with the classics May 16 and Razor Burn, both of which always puts a smile on my face. Always good to see Lagwagon.

Up next were the legendary Alkaline Trio. Alkaline Trio were one of the first punk bands I got into growing up after seeing the video for Stupid Kid on Kerrang TV. That song is taken from the 2001 album From Here Infirmary, an album that the band would be playing from start to finish at the gig. At first I thought that this would be cool but the more I thought about it I was a little disappointed that it wouldn't be more of a greatest hits set as it was my first time seeing Chicago's finest. That being said it was great to hear that album live. Songs like Private Eye, Stupid Kid, Armageddon and Crawl were highlights for me. Bass player Dan Adriano's voice was record perfect on Crawl, a song that doesn't seem to get anywhere near as much love as it should from Trio fans. The energy levels of Alkaline Trio's set didn't seem quite as high as Lagwagons but I suspect that this was due to having only three members and two singers so it's not really possible for them to charge round the stage. The onstage banter was kept to a minimum as well, not even when they finished playing Infirmary and began to play some other songs. The set was finished with my all time favourite Alkaline Trio song - Radio. This got a great reaction and a huge sing a-long. Brilliant to finally hear that and see Alkaline Trio live.

Finally it was time for the legendary NOFX. For those of you who don't know the history and legacy of NOFX, looking it up, I'm too lazy to write it down for you myself. Just know it's long and it's impressive. Tonight it was announced that they would be playing their most successful album, 1994's Punk In Drublic in its entirety. Much like before with Alkaline Trio I would have preferred to have more of a greatest hits set but it was quite cool to hear some songs live that I never thought I would. Something about NOFX when they play live, they do love a chat - often at times seemingly spending as much time talking and more so heckling the crowd then they do playing songs. Some of the heckles I find a little too close to the fine line of humour and offence but that's what NOFX do. When they did crack on with the song playing aspect of the gig though they were absolutely superb. Rather than playing Punk In Drublic front to back they did it in parts and in no particular order. I guess this was to keep Brixton guessing and to stop themselves getting bored. Other classics thrown in to the set were Franco-Unamerican, Seeing Double At The Triplerock and final song Kill All The White Men. The crowd went nuts for each and every song Fat Mike, El Hefe, Eric Melvin and Smelly played with the pit just getting bigger and bigger with each and every song. The only real disappointment for me was that I still haven't seen them play The Decline. Hopefully next time!

What a gig this had been. Three of the biggest bands of  the past twenty years playing together an all being fantastic. The punk rock world probably has a bigger pool of brilliant bands than ever, it was great to see three of the original trailblazers sharing a stage again. 

Now listening to World Citizen by Luke Hilly

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