Friday the 23rd of September was going to be a very bittersweet night for me. On one hand, one of my favourite bands ONSIND were playing a headline show at DIY Space For London. On the other, it was the last ever 176 Records show. This made me sad as Angela has been putting on the best punk shows in London for a number of years. For me 176 has been a huge part in not only discovering so many amazing bands but also quite inspirational in supporting the punk scene. But more on that later - ON WITH THE SHOW!
We were running a little late to get to the show but we managed to catch a few songs of the opening band, Apartments. The duo from Belfast, via Leeds, make one hell of a fantastic racket. With just an electric guitar and drums, vocals are shared between the two members and I was amazed by the raw emotion that is poured out of every song. A great start to the night.
Following Apartments were a four piece band named Molar. This London band feature two different vocalists, one of the guitar players and the drummer. This was my first time hearing Molar and I was pleasantly surprised by their sound. It was much harder than I expected and was a sound I don't really hear much of. There was a great rawness to it which really caught my attention.
Next up was a band named Break-Ups that both Emma and I feel like we should have seen a lot but have never managed it. Despite this between us we have seen guitarist Luke and bass player Alfie play solo on separate occasions. Basically seeing Break-Ups was well over do and it was definitely worth the wait. This three piece play some fantastic heart on their sleeve sing-a-long punk rock. Alfie and Luke take turns with lead vocals and both sound great, even better when they are singing together. Sadly, because the night was running slightly late Break-Ups had to hurry through their set but that didn't stop them putting on a great performance. I can't wait to see them again.
Finally it was time for the evening’s headline act and the final band to play a 176 show, the amazing ONSIND. The acoustic punk duo from Pity Me in Durham have long been a favourite of mine and I always get so excited to see them play. It seems like ages since ONSIND played in London as well so it felt well over do. Starting with the opening track of last album, Anaesthesiology (spelt correctly first time - hooray for me!), the crowd at DIY Space sang along instantly for Pokémon City Limits and continued to sing as loud as possible throughout the entirety of ONSIND’s set. Something I really love about an ONSIND set is that it feels like every person in the crowd is as much a part of the band are as Daniel and Nathan are. Obvious set highlights were Mildred, Dissatisfactions and of course the "hit" Heterosexuality Is A Construct. The song that really stood out to me though was BA77. BA77 has the lyrics "I'm Sick Of Border, Sick Of Nations, Sick Of Racist Immigration." Hearing a room full of people belting out those lyrics amidst the currently political climate in the UK gives me hope that there are still plenty of people out there who believe in doing the right thing - despite all of the atrocities that are happening. ONSIND are just an incredible band who really should be heard by everyone. Not only do they write really important songs about mental health, social and gender politics and racism that not only entertain but really educate. They're also a pretty kick-ass punk rock band.
ONSIND brought an end to somewhat of an era of punk rock shows in London. 176 shows are sadly no more. Over the years, Angela has put on the best shows featuring some of the best in UK bands (Muncie Girls, Bangers, Great Cynics, Above Them, Zatopeks, Crazy Arm, Caves, Bear Trade, Martha, ONSIND and Apologies, I Have None to name a few) and some of the best in international bands (Direct Hit, RVIVR, Iron Chic, Smoke Or Fire, Dear Landlord, Nothington, Arms Aloft, Red City Radio, Timeshares, Tender Defender and Mikey Erg to name a few more). Every single 176 show I've attended has been just a wonderful time. As good as the bands always have been, something that has always stood out to me is how welcoming and friendly the shows are. For years I went to shows by myself and never once did I feel out of place or like I didn't belong at a 176 show. Angela deserves a lot of credit and should be immensely proud the wonderful atmosphere and community that was made at her shows. DIY Space For London mentions the term "safe space" a lot in their manifesto, for me every 176 show I ever went to felt like a safe space. The role of a promoter is often overlooked at a show and I can't begin to imagine the amount of energy, time and work goes into putting on a show. So for anyone to do so, especially when it's not their full time job, must be a great strain on their lives. I fully respect Angela's decision to move on to something new. Thank you Angela and 176 Records, your shows will be really missed.