You probably know this already but I absolutely love Apologies, I Have None. Their recently released second album Pharmacie is already a firm favourite of mine. It's a powerful and emotional piece of work packed with fantastic lyrics and musicianship. Last week they held an album release show at The Old Blue Last in Shoreditch with long time pal Sam Russo and new hardcore band Group Of Man. Of course this was a gig I couldn't miss!
Opening the evening were post-hardcore band Group Of Man. Group Of Man are a band that I had never heard of previous to this gig so was quite intrigued to hear what they were like. After a fantastic musical intro some intense hardcore shouting took me slightly by surprise. It took me a few songs to really get into Group Of Man but once I was in I was definitely in. Group Of Man are clearly a talented bunch of musicians destined for big things.
Sam Russo was up next and this offered up a complete switcheroo in styles. Russo's trademark soft, gravelly storytelling style of songwriting is always completely captivating. For the majority of the people who were filling up the Old Blue Last anyway. Annoyingly, as is often the case with acoustic artists you can sometimes hear people at the back talking between songs. I don't know why people can't just save their conversations for when people aren't trying to enjoy a very, very good performance. Russo always comes across as so natural and confident on stage with nothing seeming to faze him. He played a great selection of songs from both of his full length albums Storm and Greyhound Dreams, as well as a brand new song which I hope will be recorded soon. Russo again proved why he is considered by many as the number one acoustic punk artist.
Next it was time for the reason we were all here - the mighty Apologies, I Have None. Pharmacie felt like it was a long time in the making so for it to finally be out and to finally hear more songs from it live was quite an exciting event - I imagine as much for the band as it is for fans of the band. The Old Blue Last was now pretty much full and Josh, Joe, Simon and James didn't waste anytime launching into some new songs from Pharmacie. Opening up with my song of the year Love and Medication and following it up with Wraith, both songs already feel like established parts of the set and are very well received by the crowd. Love and Medication especially is perhaps even better when played live - Joe's drumming is just superb. Other new songs such as Goodbye Piece Of Mind, Everybody Wants To Talk About Mental Health and A Pharmacy In Paris all went down a storm. This really pleased me. Previous album London is such a classic and is completely adored so new material may not have been received quite so well at a live gig. The new stuff is just so good that this was not a problem in the slightest. It's great to hear the classics such as Sat In Vicky Park, The 26 and Long Gone but having these new songs made the set feel somehow more complete. As well as writing completely brilliant songs AIHN are also just an amazing live band. Playing with an intensity and skill that few bands can match it's impossible to take your eyes away from the stage. It's dramatic, it's emotional and it's just brilliant. It's completely draining but in the very best way imaginable. Between songs front man Josh McKenzie is hilarious, engaging in on stage banter (and often rambling) with the rest of the band and the crowd he keeps the whole room entertained.
This was my thirteenth time (yes I keep track of that kind of thing because I'm really cool) seeing Apologies, I Have None and this show was up there with the best. They are the crown jewel of the UK punk scene and, with gigs as good as this and such brilliant songs, it can't be long until they are headlining much bigger venues all around the country. If you haven't checked out Apologies, I Have None yet I suggest you take a good long look at yourself in the mirror and go and do it. You won't regret it!