One Seven Six Records is, without any doubt in my mind, the best promoter of gigs in the UK. Angela consistently gets the best bands from the UK and all over the world and puts on amazing shows. They are always of the highest quality, unbelievably reasonably priced (I don't think I've ever paid more than £10 for a One Seven Six show) and are filled with such a welcoming and positive attitude. A One Seven Six show feels like home. On May the 4th the mighty Iron Chic were in town with excellent support from Bear Trade, Pacer and Shit Present at DIY Space For London in Peckham. This was a show not to be missed!
Before cracking on with the gig review I'd like to talk a little bit about DIY Space For London. DSFL is a cooperatively run social club that offers low cost creative facilities, meeting rooms as well as a space for screenings, gigs and performances. To use the facility you have to become a member (which only costs £2 and lasts for a year). With that membership not only do you get to use the facility but you also get a say in how the club is run, as well as plenty of opportunities to get involved with the day to day running of the space. This was mine and Emma's first visit to the venue since it opened in September 2015 (feels like a long overdue visit) and we both agreed it was a fantastic place and we are both disappointed that we don't live more locally to get more involved with DIY Space For London.
Now on with the actual gig portion of the blog. First up were Specialist Subject Records’ Shit Present. We were unfortunately a little late getting to DSFL so we missed the very beginning of their set but what we did see was extremely enjoyable. Having seen them a number of times since their inception it's great to see how far they've come as a band. Iona seems more and more confident as a front woman and she herself commented that she has been practising her on stage talking. The set was a mix of songs from last year's self titled debut and a collection of new songs that sound absolutely fantastic. Hopefully they are released at some point this year. Shit Present continue to prove what a great band they are.
Next up was Pacer. It has been years since I've seen Pacer. The first and only time was when they supported Less Than Jake with Apologies, I Have None way back in 2012. That was the first time I'd even heard of Pacer and they have been a band that I've listened to a fair amount since. Particularly their 2014 album Mechanical. Starting out with Hammers (my favourite Pacer song) the five piece were a bundle of energy throughout their set, rarely pausing between songs. Something I really enjoyed was the chemistry between the band. These five men clearly love playing music together and it's a joy to watch. Like Shit Present, Pacer have also been working on some new material and played a new song. It's as fast if not faster than anything I've heard from the band before and extremely enjoyable. Pacer may not play that much anymore but my word they are good when then do.
Weirdly the last two times I've seen Iron Chic they've been supported by Northern punks Bear Trade. Though not quite as lively as Pacer, it's obvious that the four gentlemen in Bear Trade love being on stage together. Lead singer Greg has one of the most unique vocals in all of punk rock and his Northern accent really gives a lot of charm to Bear Trade's music. It's that mid-tempo melodic punk rock style that everyone loves. The set list was most comprised of songs from their wonderful 2014 album Blood and Sand and went down a real treat with the crowd at DSFL.
As much as everyone enjoyed Shit Present, Pacer and Bear Trade the reason everyone had made their way to South London were up next. New York natives Iron Chic are one of the most popular punk bands in the world. The five piece are absolutely fantastic on record, their debut album Not Like This ranks in my top five records of all time list but you can't fully appreciate the awesomeness of Iron Chic until you witness them live and in person. Having seen them a couple of times before I advised Emma (who hadn't seen the band live before) that we should probably stand to the side of the stage rather than getting squashed at the front and centre. That's not because the crowd would do any silly moshing or something like that, it's because Iron Chic get bands singing excitedly like no other. Every song is an anthem with the crowd wanting to get up close and sing as loudly as they can with lead singer Jason Lubrano. I really enjoy watching Lubrano on stage, getting right in the faces of the people at the front. It makes everyone feel like they are a part of the band. It's bloody great. Every song in the set got great reactions, from the opening song Cutesy Monster Man to the final track (before the encore) Time Keeps On Slipping Into The (Cosmic) Future. Of course Every Town Has An Elm Street got the biggest reaction. The lyric "Home Is Where We Are Today" is an excellent analogy of how I always feel at a punk show, that is my home. The song was dedicated to former Iron Chic bassist Rob McAllister who sadly died earlier this year. The set was absolutely perfect, I didn't think they could top it before they decided to play one last song as a short encore. They picked their cover of The Ramones classic Bonzo Goes To Bitburg. I am a big Ramones fan and that's my absolute favourite Ramones song so I was absolutely stoked to be able to sing along to it live with one of my favourite bands.
One Seven Six did it again! A stonking show with some of the UK's finest bands as well as one of the best bands in the world. DIY Space For London is a fantastic place for gigs and everyone involved in creating and running it should be very proud of themselves. Check it out as soon as you can. Places like this will be what keep are wonderful DIY scene going. A completely perfect night.