Oklahoma based punks Red City Radio must be one of the hardest working bands in scene, they always seem to be on tour. This week they returned to the Windmill in Brixton for the second time this year, kind of ridiculous considering it's only July! Sadly, due to some personal issues I missed the first gig so I was beyond excited for this second chance to see one of the most beloved new bands coming out of the American scene.
The Brixton Windmill is a tiny tiny venue about a fifteen minute walk from Brixton Tube Station, I'd only had the pleasure of being there one before (to see Ducking Punches and River Jumpers) so I was very impressed with myself when I managed to find my way back. The opening act was a chap named Dexy from a band named Sweetheart Contract playing acoustically. With no knowledge on either Sweetheart Contract or Dexy I had no idea what to expect from his set. It felt kind of out of place at a punk rock show but it was an enjoyable set never the less with a great cover of The Replacements song Androgynous.
Up next were a band I've been enjoying quite a lot this year since discovering them were London based four piece The Burnt Tapes. I've been enjoying their debut EP Wasted History immensely and was looking forward to hearing some of them live. Clearly influenced by Midwestern American punk rock bands such as Dear Landlord (who they covered during the set), Off With Their Heads and The Copyrights the band gave it their all. Both of The Burnt Tapes vocalists were spot on with their raspy, growling delivery, giving the songs some real passion. All of the band are hugely watchable on stage and clearly have a lot of potential to become one of the best bands in the scene.
Brighton's Harker have supported Red City Radio on a number of dates on the tour and are a band I was looking forward to seeing live again. I was so impressed with their set at the Windmill. They play with so much more aggression and passion during their live set than they seem to recorded. Both are great but I do enjoy the live style a little bit more. The whole live performance was polished and tight with nobody in the band missing a beat, a chord or a note with singer Mark's voice in fantastic most of the UK's current underground scene don't really have, really setting them apart. If you haven't heard Harker yet then firstly shame on you, secondly go to their Bandcamp and get everything, you won't regret it, thirdly go see them live, this is where the band are at their absolute best.
Now it was time for Red City Radio and the Windmill was all of a sudden rammed around the front of the stage, so much so that the band had a hide time getting on it. As soon as lead singer Garrett Dale began to sing so did the whole of the venue, fist were in the air instantly! The second song Two Notes Shy Of An Octave got a massive reaction, especially at the chorus. I think the band then knew they had this crowd in the palm of their hands and it was going to be a great show. This was my third time seeing Red City Radio live, but my first seeing them actaully headline, before I'd never realised how good Dale is as a front man. Seemingly playing the role of the coolest preacher man on the planet, he had the whole rooms attention with every word he said. He was much cooler than the preacher man I met on the streets of Brixton who told me I was going to die! Tonight they also played a few songs from their new self titled album they released earlier this year (which I will eventually get round to reviewing) which were great performed live. Stand outs from that album were Electricity and Two Out Of Three Ain't Rad, I haven't stopped listening to the later since the gig. Come the end of the set the whole room was a sweaty mess of bodies, bodies with faces with massive grins on them. This to me felt like what a punk show should be all about, the band were great, the crowd was positive, it was just great vibes all around. I bloody loved it. It was just great speaking to people at an after the gig, all of which were ace. On the tube on the way home I was talking to some chaps from the gig who happen to be in a band called Spineless Yes Men, go and check them out, they're great. If this gig isn't in my top three come the end of the year then you know I've been to some phenomenal gigs this year. I wonder if Red City Radio will make a third trip to London this year? I hope so!
Now listening to Cavalier Eternal by Against Me!