Saturday 2nd of April was quite a night for fans of punk rock music. In Bedford Tellison and Muncie Girls were playing, in Dalston it was Jeff Rosenstock and Great Cynics and in Kentish Town the legendary Screeching Weasel and the legendary MXPX were playing at The Forum. What a choice for the punks to make! When Screeching Weasel were announced I was excited as they were a band I grew up listening to and had never seen. Then Jeff Rosenstock was announced and I exploded with excitement. His album We Cool? was one of my favourites of last year and I had heard his live performances are not to be missed. As I'm sure you can guess from the title of this review I plumped for Jeff. When I was younger I adored Screeching Weasel but haven't really listened to them in years. However We Cool? is an album I have played constantly since it was released last year. It's also one of the most relatable albums I've heard in years. It's mostly about being in your thirties and still not really knowing what you want to do with your life and trying to justify the way you live to your peers. Before reading this you should go and listen to the album here.
The gig took place in a pub named The Victoria in the Dalston area of London. Due to a rail replacement service and getting lost at Stratford station I eventually made it to The Victoria just in time to see the opening act Toothpaste take to the stage. Toothpaste are a new band I hadn't heard anything about before the set so I had no idea what to expect from the three-piece. It turns out they play some fun DIY powerpop. Opening with a song named All The Other Girls Are Shit they played a set full of songs about relationships not working out. They took an idea and they really went with it. They played really well and the male/female harmonies were fantastic. A very promising new band.
Next up it was a far more established act from the UK's punk rock scene - Great Cynics. Giles, Iona and Bob have earned themselves a very dedicated fan base after years of great shows and top albums, any time you go to a Great Cynics show you know you're in a for a big sing-along. Something I always love when I watch Great Cynics is just how much they love playing shows. I always figure that playing the songs over and over again must get a little dull but if that's the case it really doesn't show. Giles was bopping around the stage so much that at one point he fell of the stage. Punk rock unpredictability! The set was heavy with tracks from their latest album I Feel Weird with a couple of old favourites such as Nightcaps and a cover of the Bryan Adams and Sporty Spice "classic" Baby When You're Gone. With the success that Muncie Girls are having this year hopefully their great friends Great Cynics will also get some well-deserved love from the mainstream. In the meantime I will happily keep going to see one of the undergrounds best bands.
Jeff Rosenstock is a legend in today's punk rock world for his tireless DIY ethic, along with his efforts in making sure all of his gigs are affordable and all-ages and so available to everyone. His former band Bomb The Music Industry were one of the most respected and loved punk bands in our scene and his band before that - The Arrogant Sons Of Bitches - were just fantastic as well. The man just writes awesome music. I've seen plenty of live clips of Jeff Rosenstock in his numerous bands throughout the years and they have always looked like the best fun. Now I was finally getting the chance to witness the chaos and mayhem that I'd witnessed on YouTube first hand, I was beyond excited. And so were the 250 people who had sold out and crammed into The Victoria, all of whom were doing their best to get a spot as close to the stage as possible. Like I mentioned, the clips that I've seen were full of chaos and mayhem and seeing him live did not disappoint! Jeff, as well John on bass and Kevin on drums, was a bundle of frantic energy. Jeff didn't stay still for a single second as he blasted through his set. The crowd moved from side to side and screamed along with every word. Hey Alison, Nausea, You In Weird Cities and in particular I'm Serious, I'm Sorry got the biggest reactions from the crowd. I felt my own voices going quite hoarse before the end of the set. In a fun little moment Kevin and John jammed some sexy funk music and Jeff free-styled a rap about socks whilst he replaced a couple of broken strings. Unique moments like this are why I love going to gigs. The set was just incredible and I know I definitely made the right choice in gigs on this night.