August is traditionally the month for punk rock shows at The Underworld. A who's who of bands come to the UK for shows at Boomtown and Rebellion Festivals and add shows at the Underworld to their tour. This August The Adolescents, The Dickies, Flag, The Bouncing Souls, Leftover Crack and Big D and the Kids Table all played Underworld shows. Camden has been spoilt. On Sunday the 14th of August Emma and I went to see Boston ska punk legends Big D and the Kids Table.
First on at the Underworld were Bullets With Blue Eyes. The London based four piece were a new band for both Emma and I so neither of us were sure what to expect. Bullets With Blue Eyes played an interesting brand of soulful Clash-inspired punk rock. Emma and I both favoured the more Clash-sounding songs in their set, a couple of which had some fantastic choruses. Bullets With Blue Eyes are a band with a different sound and I'm interested to see where they take it next.
Up next were Colchester favourites The Jellycats. It felt like ages since I last saw The Jellycats play live, so I was especially looking forward to their infectious ska punk sound. Taking the poppy ska sound of Madness, adding a strong dose of punk and mixing it with some cheeky Essex humour, The Jellycats are an incredibly entertaining live band. Even without their brass player (I'm sure he wasnt' there the last time I saw them either) the band are on top form and manage to get the crowd moving early. Co front people Ollie and Emma work fantastically well together, playing off of each other during and between songs. The set also included an excellent cover of Robin Thicke's smash hit Blurred Lines. All of The Jellycats clearly have a lot of fun when they are on stage and this makes the crowd have a lot of fun as well.
London's Popes Of Chillitown took to the stage next. The six piece were finishing a two week tour and seemed determined to finish it with a bang. The energy that the Popes put into their set is nothing short of incredible and, like The Jellycats before them, they got the crowd skanking quickly. The band's frontman is quite ridiculous. I'm not 100% sure his legs are attached to his back as they seem to have a life of their own, constantly skanking away and seemingly out of anyone's control. The Popes are the ultimate good time band, you can't help but enjoy them whilst they are on stage. Highlights of their set included the songs Wisdom Teeth, Opoom, Vamos A La Luna and, set closer, Bad Man. This gig was also the band's sax player's final gig with the band. To celebrate he got / was forced down into the crowd to have a dance, during Bad Man, before getting back on stage to finish the song. Great stuff from the Popes, one of the UK's best ska punk bands.
Finally it was time for Big D and the Kids Table. This gig felt like a very long time coming. I was supposed to see Big D play at the Underworld with Random Hand back in 2012/13 time, so it was great to finally have the opportunity to see them here again. I had previously seen them at Slam Dunk Festival but that was only a short thirty minute set - I was looking forward to finally seem them play for longer. To open the set the band's guitarist, bass player and drummer took to the stage and started playing the introduction to the song Faded before frontman David McWane and two brass players. I figured they'd play out the rest of the song but they began another. I love the song Faded so I was a little disappointed by this, but this was soon forgotten as the band played song after song from their entire discography. Surprisingly they played the classic LAX very early on in their set. This was a great move as it really got everyone moving and singing along. How It Goes is my favourite Big D album (I finally got a vinyl copy from the merch table) so any song played from that was a particular highlight. Along with LAX, it was great to hear My Girlfriend's On Drugs, You're Me Now and The Specials cover Little Bitch live. Other favourites from the night included Noise Complaint, Checklist, Shining On and Try Out Your Voice. Big D and the Kids Table are an incredible live band, flawless in execution and full of passion. Big D don't play shows because they want to, it's because they have to. Thanks for coming back to London Big D, you are loved. Please come back soon!