Sunday, 10 June 2018

Gig Review: RVIVR at Bethnal Green Working Men's Club, London 5/6/18

Bethnal Green Working Men's Club isn't a place I fully expected to spend to spend a Tuesday evening in June enjoying some punk rock goodness but this week that was indeed the case. Everything Sucks Music had taken over the place for two nights to put on Olympia, Washington punks RVIVR, one of my favourite bands of the past few years. I would have loved to go to both nights but unfortunately I had to work on the Wednesday night. Not to worry though as one time is better than none and it had been over eighteen months since I last saw RVIVR – and that was in Florida. It had been way too long since RVIVR had played London so it was sure to be a night to remember. I was also getting the chance to see two bands I'd never seen before in the form of Personal Best and Charmpit.

First up were Lewisham four piece Charmpit. Beginning their set with an acapella version of a Britney Spears song to get themselves comfortable on stage was a unique and fun way to start things off. From there we were treated to a fun set of feminist indie pop punk. As their name would suggest, the band was full of charm not just when they were playing but between songs as well. The songs were played with a great spirit and it was clear that Charmpit were having a lovely time. This spread into the crowd as more and more people began to get into the band. What a fun way to start the night.

Personal Best are a band I've known about for a while but had never actually listened to. I've no idea why as they are long time members of the Specialist Subject Records roster which I am a fan of. After seeing their set it had me wondering even more why I had never listened to them as they were fantastic. Lead by guitarist and lead singer Katie Gatt, the band stormed through a set of power pop gems. Personally I enjoyed the faster songs the most but every single song had me tapping my toes, bopping along and wishing I could sing along. The harmonies between Katie and fellow guitarist El Morgan were a superb element of the Personal Best sound. I'm a big fan of vocal harmonies and will forever get a kick out of them.

Finally it was time for the evening's main event. RVIVR are a very popular band in London, hence the reason for two nights in a row. Bethnal Green Working Men's Club boasts a capacity of 400 people and as I looked around the room it seemed as if there was now a decent amount of people that had turned up ready to sing their hearts out. The thing that first attracted me to RVIVR was the incredible dual vocals from Erica Freas and Mattie Jo Canino. These two have some of my favourite vocals in the world of punk rock and together it's like when the Avengers assemble. It's pretty special. I first became aware of RVIVR back in 2013 after the release of their second studio album, The Beauty Between, and quickly became hooked on the band. Since then the band have only released a couple of EPs but I, and I'm sure many other RVIVR fans, have been anxiously awaiting a brand new album. Well judging from the set that RVIVR played, that new album is imminent as they squeezed in four or five brand new songs amongst many old favourites. One particular track had a nice vibe of older Gaslight Anthem which has me very excited for the new album, whenever it may be released. All the new songs were really well received but of course the old stuff got the biggest reactions. Songs such as Edge Of Living, Wrong Way/One Way, Cut The Cord, Goodbyes and Change On Me are always a pleasure to hear live. Whenever I've seen RVIVR in the past I've always thought how happy they look on stage, like performing these songs is some kind of release from their everyday lives. The dynamic between the band members makes for a very entertaining live act. They just look as if they're having the most amount of fun and this leaks into the crowd who dance and sing along to every word. RVIVR are one of the best and most important bands in punk rock right now and I love them.

This review was written by Colin Clark. Photos by Emma Prew.

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