Recently Emma and I had ourselves a bit of a punk rock weekend. Starting with RVIVR headlining a 176 Records show at the Boston Music Room in London before heading up to Manchester for Moving Norths Manchfester 3.5, it promised to be a great weekend of punk rock.
I've mentioned before how good 176 gigs always are, so we wanted to get to the venue as early as possible to catch all of the bands. Unfortunately due to not living in London, the closest Tube station to the Boston Music Room being closed and walking into the wrong place we missed opening band Honey Joy but were there in time for Jesus And His Judgemental Father. Coincidently they are a band that my wonderful editor Avon and I had discussed earlier in the day when discussing bands with female members. This young four-piece from Leeds played 90's American teen movie pop punk music and got a great reaction from the crowd. Looking very comfortable on stage together it seemed as if they were having a great time playing together, something I always love when I see. Musically this is something I would have absolutely adored ten years ago and would definitely recommend it to younger punk rockers. It's full of great hooks and has some great messages regarding sexual and gender politics; something that gets very often overlooked in mainstream media.
Up next were Edinburgh's indie/pop four piece The Spook School. They are a band that I have heard a great deal about but have never listened to. After not being overly excited by them from the start, they did grow on me. One thing I really enjoyed about the band was that vocals came from everywhere, with the bass player and both guitarists all taking turns on lead vocals and always adding plenty of great harmonies on each other's songs. The Boston Music Room was getting close to capacity during The Spook School's set and it was quite clear that a good number of people had come down specifically to see them; there were lots of people dancing and singing along down the front of the stage. Many of The Spook Schools song tackle the subject of subject of sexual identity and it's fantastic to see the theme be so well received by the crowd. This is something I love so much about the punk rock scene, how mostly it is accepting of people from all walks of life with no prejudice. The Spook School have an excellent new album named Try To Be Hopeful out now on Fortuna Pop! that needs to be checked out.
Finally it was time for what I think is one of the best and most important bands to come out of the American punk scene in years - Washington's RVIVR. This was my first time seeing RVIVR in London and every time the venue gets bigger and always sells out. Tonight's show sold out so they decided to add more tickets, that's just how popular RVIVR are becoming. Their fans are a passionate bunch, always singing at the top of their voices to every word that Mattie Jo and Erica sing. The dual vocals are an important part of RVIVR's sound and really set the band apart live, and they bounce off of one another perfectly. Since their formation in 2008 RVIVR have had a revolving door of bass players but this has never affected their live performances, always full of energy and passion. It was good to see the band getting great reactions for material from their entire discography, no matter if it was old or new. The biggest reaction of the night was of course for Wrong Way/One Way, which got a big scream along to the breakdown of "When It Feels Like You've Been Tamed, And You're Dragging Around Your Chains, Start Screaming Your True Name, [Insert Your Name Here]." My personal highlight was the final song Change On Me, which is up there with my favourite songs ever. There is something about that song, more so than any other RVIVR song, that makes me come alive. It's brilliant on record but performed live it's definitely a goose bumps kind of song. Anyone who has seen RVIVR before will tell you that they often talk a lot about different political themes during their sets, tonight they did not. Mattie Jo quickly addressed that by saying in London they didn't feel the need because the London punk scene just get it, they don't need to be told about things and that's something we can all be proud about.
Thanks to 176 Records for another superb show!