Friday, 12 April 2019

Gig Review: The Burnt Tapes’ Album Launch Show at Urban Bar, London 5/4/19

The last time I was at Urban Bar in Whitechapel, London, it was one of my favourite shows ever. It was the 3rd of June 2017 for the Burnt Tapes’ launch show for the much celebrated EP Alterations. The Burnt Tapes had been a favourite live band of mine for a while but it was that show that really took them up to another level for me. On Friday the 5th of April, this year, we found ourselves back at Urban Bar getting ready to celebrate the launch of the four piece’s exceptional debut album, Never Better, and it promised to be another very special night. Like at the EP launch two years ago, their great friends Triple Sundae would be providing support along with Mixtape Saints and Laserchrist.

Laserchrist were the band chosen to start the show. Because the gig didn't begin until 8.30 it meant a decent sized crowd had already gathered by the time Laserchrist began their set. Over the past year the four piece have become one of the most exciting new bands in London, even earning themselves a slot on the line-up for last summer’s Wonk Fest. Laserchrist have this unique sound where their mix a raspy voiced style of punk rock with grunge to make something quite special. It was clear they were impressing the majority of people in the room, I just wish I had known the words as a few songs felt like they were crying out to be shouted back at the band. I expect this to be a big year for Laserchrist.

I hadn't seen Mixtape Saints in years and I think, in a way, this made me enjoy them even more than usual. A part of me had forgotten just how good they are live. Unfortunately they had to cut their set a little short due to some technical issues which meant they were slightly late getting started but that didn't stop the band putting all they had into their performance. Last time we saw Mixtape Saints they had a nice Gaslight Anthem sound, on this night it felt as if they had shed that style slightly to a more melodic pop punk sound that really made them fit in perfectly on this bill. Lead singer Sam Maloney is a terrific front person, such a solid vocal and extremely captivating to watch. Like Laserchrist before them it was clear that Mixtape Saints left a great impression on the folk in Urban Bar and I'm now looking forward to seeing them again at the New Cross Inn in May with Western Settings, Bong Mountain and a whole heap of other great acts.

You really couldn't have had a Burnt Tapes album launch show without Triple Sundae. Both bands have grown together in the London DIY scene and it's pretty clear both are destined for some big things in the next year or two. Triple Sundae have a whole host of brand new tracks for their brand new EP coming out later this year and they treated us to some early plays of them. Judging from what I've heard, I think it's pretty clear that Trip Sun are about to receive a lot of love when these songs finally get released. This was my ninth time seeing them in about two years and seeing how they seem to improve each and every time (and they started with a pretty high level) has been such a delight to see. They finished the set by playing last year’s Peace Of Mind EP in full which got a huge reaction with everyone down the front singing along to every word. Triple Sundae, as the young people say, are about to release some "fire". Get ready.

It was now time for the moment we were all really looking forward to. I looked around the now full room as Phil, Pan, Tone and Jordan were setting up and it was so lovely to see so many people who have been with the band right from the start. There were members of Resuscitators, Waco, Müg/Umlaut Records as well as their old pal Wayfairer all in attendance – I would imagine they are all so proud of the Burnt Tapes. Never Better had actually been out for a month so we have all had plenty of time to learn the words to the songs. This meant that each song they played from the album and some favourites from Alterations all received big, passionate sing-alongs. There was so much love for these songs in the room, with plenty of big fist-in-the-air moments. There was a point during the set where I stopped singing and just watched in awe with the realisation that these guys are going up another level and will no doubt be headlining plenty more of their own shows with bigger and bigger crowds. After that brief moment of thought, I went right back to singing as loudly as I could, particularly to my personal favourite song from Never Better – Dirt Roads. Never Better’s two singles of course got big reactions, both sounding incredible live and of course the now traditional set closer Things Get Weird got a raucous reaction as well. Tonight the band weren't finished there though, for a short and well deserved encore they gave us a taste of their upcoming MPF Menzingers cover set when they ran through a superb version of Casey. What a set, what a band.

I am so proud of everything these four guys have achieved so far in the Burnt Tapes. From their beginnings with Wasted History to now, the level of growth in their songwriting is just astounding. It's been an absolutely pleasure being able to witness this journey and can't wait to see where it takes them next.

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

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