Saturday, 25 February 2017

Gig Review: Nothington at The Underworld, Camden 21/2/17

It seems like an absolute age since I went to The Underworld in Camden for a gig. There was a time when I was there so much it felt like I may as well get their door stamp tattooed on my hand. These days not that many punk shows seem to happen at The Underworld so it was a nice surprise when one actually came up. The bigger surprise was the band that was announced - Nothington! I kind of figured they weren't a band anymore as it had been so long since I heard any activity from their camp. This year marked their tenth anniversary as band so they decided to tour to celebrate as well as putting out a brand new album named In The End, on Red Scare Industries.

First up was Joe McMahon of Smoke Or Fire and more recently Joe McMahon the solo artist. When he got on stage he mentioned how he had literally just arrived at the venue because the tour van had broken down an hour outside of London on their journey down from Glasgow. So with no time to prepare and being extremely rushed to the stage, you might forgive Joe if it wasn't a classic performance. Despite the chaotic nature of his evening, Joe McMahon played a fantastic set of acoustic covers of old Smoke or Fire songs and songs from his solo LP, Another Life. I particularly enjoyed hearing the stripped down versions of Smoke Or Fire songs, most notably Monsters Among Us – which I found myself singing along with. I'd love to see Joe back doing a headline tour with Smoke Or Fire or with his full band used for Another Life. At least it wouldn't be the last we saw of him this evening though.

Up next were Irish via Newcastle punks Good Friend. You know those times when you've never heard of a band and then you see them for the first time and they completely blow you away. This was one of those times multiplied by a thousand. I can't remember the last time I was this impressed by a band I'd not heard of before. Taking to the stage with minimal fuss, Good Friend's guitarist blasted out a distorted slide and they were off – and had the whole crowd's immediate attention. Playing a bunch of tracks from their recently released Red Scare debut, Ride The Storm, the three piece amazed with their intense but good time sing-a-long punk rock. Bass player and lead vocalist Adam Carroll's singing really stood out. How he can maintain his rough, raw, shouty style is beyond me but it's really, really good. I don't really think my words can do justice to how much I enjoyed Good Friend, they're a band that should be on everyone's radar. I don't know how they stayed under my radar for so long but I am pleased that they're not anymore. I'm very much looking forward to hearing more from them and seeing them again.

Finally it was time for Nothington, with added Joe McMahon on the bass guitar. I'm not sure if he's now a permanent member of Nothington or he was just filling in but it was pretty cool to see him on stage. Playing their brand of melodic gruff punk rock, the people of the Underworld seemed quite excited to see them and have a good sing-a-long. Despite having a brand new album out, the setlist was comprised of mostly older material, probably due to their anniversary. I have to admit that despite knowing of the band for a number of years and always enjoying their music, when it came down to it I wasn't completely knowledgeable on their songs. That didn't prevent me getting swept up in the music and performance though, with the guitarist and singer Jay Northington really catching my attention due to his energetic performance. The band's other guitarist and singer Chris Matulich also put in an energetic display despite not being very well. This was probably the reason that the set was only about 40 minutes long and mainly featured songs where Jay took lead vocals. It was pretty cool seeing Nothington play a show, something I didn't ever really expect to happen. The band were tight, the music was great and everyone had a great time. A good way to spend a Tuesday evening in London.