August is the most incredible time for punk gigs in the UK as so many of the worlds best bands are in the country for festivals such as Rebellion and Boomtown, as well as the European festival Punk Rock Holiday. Just in one week we were seeing Bad Religion, Gnarwolves, No Trigger, River Jumpers, Pennywise, Face To Face, Good Riddance, Teenage Bottlerocket. Also there were gigs for 88 Fingers Louie, Pears, Great Cynics, Propagandhi, Martha and Petrol Girls. Plus later in the month The Planet Smashers, The Dreadnoughts and Street Dogs are all playing shows! It's a ridiculously good month.
The night before the night I'm currently blogging about was Bad Religion with support from Gnarwolves (which Emma brilliantly reviewed here) at The Forum. At that show we bumped into Jack from Ships Down and he mentioned that he was going to No Trigger (the show I'm about to start reviewing). I was also going to the show but Emma (who is also my photographer) was, probably wisely, taking a night off so I planned to meet up with Jack - he would be my gig buddy for the evening.
No Trigger were playing at The Borderline in Soho and were supported by KidBrother and River Jumpers. The Borderline has long been one of my favourite venues in London, not least because of its close vicinity to Chipotle. It's been almost two years since I've been to The Borderline and I was a little taken aback as I made my way down the stairs into the basement venue. They've had a makeover and the first thing that I noticed was that the bar has moved. Also gone are the luxurious red colours and in their place is just black, black everywhere. To quote Jack, the place is the "swankiest" punk show I've ever been to. Now onto the music.
It's also been almost two years since I've seen Brighton's River Jumpers. During that time they've had another line-up reshuffle with a couple of older members of the band rejoining lead singer Nicholas and two of the newest members of the band to create a bit of a River Jumpers supergroup. It doesn't really matter which incarnation of the five piece is on stage because they always hit the spot when I see them live. Playing a set mixed with songs from their first two releases Words, Chords and Irony and Chapters, as well as at least three new songs from an upcoming release, it's a fantastic set. With this upcoming release in the pipeline one has to assume this will make River Jumpers much more active again - this is only a good thing as they are one of the best bands in the scene. Finishing with the classic Five Doors Down, this set left me wanting much more from the band.
Next up were KidBrother, a five piece band from London. I have to admit that I knew absolutely nothing of KidBrother before the evening began and was kind of aprehensive about whether or not I would enjoy their set when they began. The band's lead singer was very static and I found myself wondering if this was going to be a boring set. I don't know if it was part of the stage show or he just grew in confidence but he was like a man transformed as he bounded around the stage. Musically KidBrother weren't like any band that I'm used to seeing. There were elements of pop punk, some hardcore and a healthy dose of emo all mixed into their songs. They also featured dual vocals as the bass player split singing duties. He had a voice like no other that I've heard before, it was a higher pitch and really gave KidBrother's music a sense of individuality. I definitely got the sense at the end of KidBrothers set that they'd gained many new fans following a fantastic set.
Next up was No Trigger. This was a pretty monumental gig for the five piece from Boston as not only was it their first UK show in five years but it was their first show anywhere in two years. Now if I was to not do anything for two years I'd be extremly rusty, I imagine this is the case for most people reading this. Clearly this not the case for No Trigger as they were superb. The Borderline was now pretty full, especially for a Wednesday night when there was so much happening in London this week and it being an early show. Lots of people were so excited to see No Trigger and when the band began their opening song, Checkmate, the crowd came alive. Fists were in the air and lyrics were shouted along. This obviously continued throughout the entire set as they played some tracks from their albums Canyoneer and Tycoon, that many people had waited a long time to hear live. There was also a lovely exclusive for us as they played songs from their brand new EP, Adult Braces. As this was their first live show in two years, this was obviously the first time they've been played live for a crowd. That went down stupendously. New songs can sometimes kill a crowd if nobody has listened to them and learnt the words yet, this wasn't the case. No Trigger have a dedicated fan base. No Trigger absolutely smashed it. As someone who had never seen them live before but had only ever heard positive things, I have to say they exceeded all expectations that I had. This was one of those sets that reminds me why I love small basement punk shows so much - it's a bunch of people, friends, strangers, associates coming together, being friendly and shouting along to their favourite songs. It's a great time. I hope No Trigger aren't away for so long again as now I've seen them once I have the itch and wish to see them many more times.
This gig review was written by Colin Clark.