Saturday, 17 June 2017

Gig Review: [Spunge] at The Craufurd Arms, Milton Keynes 12/6/17

You know it's been some gig that when you go to do the washing the afternoon after the night before and your clothes are still soaked with sweat.

With that disgusting image now in your mind, let me explain what happened the night before. Emma and I made the trip across to Milton Keynes and The Craufurd Arms where one of my all time favourite bands [Spunge] were playing. We were both shattered after a late one the night before seeing Iron Chic in South London and then full days at work. We had debated skipping the gig but we decided to soldier on because it was [Spunge] (and it was local). This would be my first time seeing [Spunge] since Slam Dunk 2016 so it felt way overdue.

Support for the show came from local pop punks All Tied Up and local ska/reggae act Easydread. Both bands played great sets with Easydread particularly standing out with their energetic performance and strong social messages. They finished their set with the excellent song Scrotes in which half the band joined the crowd for a bit of a boogie.

After a lively couple of opening bands, The Craufurd Arms was now getting extremely warm. I could feel sweat building up on my back and all I was doing was standing awaiting the almighty [Spunge] to take to the stage. The Craufurd Arms wasn't packed but a decent crowd had gathered on a Monday night to see the long running ska punk heroes. The crowd was a little slow to get dancing on the opening song but, after some gentle encouragement from the band, the skanking began. As the show went on, more and more people were overcome by the infectious nature of ska and were dancing away with massive smiles on their face. All the "hits" were played with Ego, Jump On Demand, Roots and Some Suck, Some Rock getting big reactions as well as covers of Centrefold and No Woman No Cry. The band threw in some real old school [Spunge] tracks into their set as well, with Best Mate's Girlfriend, All Gone Wrong, Go Away and Make Me Happy getting rare run outs. I've seen [Spunge] a lot in the last few years but I missed out on the real early days so hearing these songs was an absolute treat. The set was obviously finished with Kicking Pigeons and we were treated with a special performance of the song as the Easydread brass section took to the stage to perform the song with [Spunge]. This obviously got the biggest reaction from the crowd and there wasn't a still foot in the building. After an encore of Skanking Song, where things got a little rowdy, I heard a girl say "it's called Skanking Song not Mosh Song" which made me grin. After over twenty years of being a band, it's clear that [Spunge] still love being a band and playing shows. It doesn't matter if it's at a small pub show like this or in front of a big crowd at a festival - they just love it. The band have developed such a loyal fanbase over the years that, despite not being as active as they once were, whenever they do get together for some shows it's always a special thing.

Emma and I had had a wonderful time at the show. It was certainly the hottest show we've been to in a little while and after spending an hour skanking away we were dripping with sweat but were completely over our exhaustion of the two nights of gigging. [Spunge] are the best.

This gig review was written by Colin Clark.