I’m generally a big fan of the Unicorn in Camden. It may be a little out the way compared to the other Camden venues but the atmosphere is great, the stage is good and I’ve seen some kickass bands there. Last night [at the time of writing this] was no exception either as I made my down to a free show headlined by the outstanding PMX and featuring a slew of excellent support.
Quick disclaimer for the entire night. This was not a good gig for vocalists. I’ve not had an issue hearing people previously but tonight for some reason not a single band I saw had reasonably audible vocals. Luckily I’m familiar with Ships Down and I know all the words to every PMX track so I knew what was going on but to the others on this list I’m sorry if I missed the subtleties of your vocal stylings but it was a rare point at which I could hear them at all.
The first act started a little earlier than I could make it down for but I managed to catch half a set of Our Lives In Cinema. These guys are going down that new school pop punk rock route and from what I can hear they’ve got a good thing going on. It’s only their third gig and they’re kind of rough around the edges but they’ve got some good potential.
Second up I got to pop my Captain Trips cherry and man was I pleased to do so. A four piece from Portsmouth, they were fast and tight and Rich Mayor is maybe one of the most fantastically good looking humans I’ve had the pleasure of setting my eyes upon. I mean seriously, I could just stare at him for the full 30 minutes in complete silence and still be perfectly happy!!! Of course there wasn’t complete silence, there was some real good kickass skate punk and I’m looking forward to checking out their EP today as I missed it when it was released last year.
The penultimate act were a new firm favourite of mine, Ships Down. I don’t want to bang on about them too much here. I like them so much that I’m going to talk about them at length elsewhere but for the purposes of this review just know that they are a force of nature. Outwardly they are playing my jam, it’s Melodic Hardcore. If you’ve never heard them then for reference they play a kickass version of The Horse by A Wilhelm Scream partway through. There’s more to them though and Stage Presence plays a big part. Every member of the band, from little Ikhsan on the drums to straight-off-a-pirate-ship Joeseph on the mic, exudes a charm and charisma you can’t train for - you either have it or you don’t and damn it these guys have it. Pay attention to their name. You’ll be hearing from these London boys a lot I think.
Lastly all the way from the unfathomably far North of mythical Scotland were PMX. Smashing out perfect renditions of tracks from their nigh perfect EP Dark Days as well as older and brand new tracks to keep us all on our feet and screaming. I was most disappointed with the lack of vocal clarity for PMX mainly because I know the vocals are next level and what I could make out over the music and my own yelling of the lyrics was amazing and, although not hearing the words properly made me a little sad, it didn’t detract from just what a great set I got to witness. I bought Dark Days when it first came out circa late 2015 and have been dying to see these guys ever since. Last night was just as good as I’d hyped myself to believe it would be for all this time. Standing watching PMX along with 100 other people for free on a Thursday night will be something to tell the next generation of punks as they desperately try to buy tickets to see them for £60 a pop in ten years time!!
The whole night was put on by the boys from Umlaut Records and they clearly have a very good thing going on, from the bands on their roster to the talent they are attracting to their shows. Long Live DIY.
This review was written by Dan Peters.