On Thursday the 7th of September 2017 I saw a real life, living, breathing, singing, bass playing Ramone! The legendary CJ Ramone, who played bass for the most important band in the history of music between from 1989 to 1996. Kind of randomly, he was playing Milton Keynes as the final night of his UK tour supporting brand new solo album American Beauty on Fat Wreck Chords. To say I was excited was a bit of an understatement.
Of course CJ had support for the evening. In fact he had a lot of support. No less than four support acts were playing at the MK11 sports bar. The first three were reasonably local acts We Are Giants, Dead Frequency and Jonny & The Mental Breakdowns. The fourth was a band who I'd only heard great things about and was really looking forward to seeing, Canadian punk rockers the Isotopes. This was my first time listening to the band and if I was going to describe them to you I'd tell you to imagine a cross between Teenage Bottlerocket and Masked Intruder. Musically they definitely have a bit of the Teenage Bottlerocket buzzsaw pop punk sound with the fun gimmickry of Masked Intruder. Unlike Masked Intruder though the gimmick isn't about girls and committing crimes, it's about America's favourite pastime, Baseball. Many of their songs are either about baseball or feature baseball references in the titles. The stage at MK11 isn't the biggest so it was tight trying to squeeze all five members into the tight space. But Isotopes also have a non music playing member, similar to the job Officer Bradford does for Masked Intruder where he paces around the stage getting the crowd even more hyped up. I should point out that this gentleman was wearing just a denim waistcoat and a jock strap, wielding a baseball bat. This was quite distracting from the band to begin with. The Isotopes played an absolutely fantastic set of pop punk. I was slightly concerned that all of the baseball references might fall down with a UK crowd but it certainly didn't stop the good folks of Milton Keynes enjoying Isotopes. A great, fun band who I look forward to seeing again.
This gig review was written by Colin Clark.