Last summer, Red City Radio made their first appearance at South London's New Cross Inn and it was one of the gigs of the year. Last week, thanks to the fine folk of Be Sharp Promotions the Oklahoman four piece were back as part of their European and UK tour. Joining Red City Radio were tour supports Jake & The Jellyfish, local heroes Burnt Tapes and new band Youths. This was going to be a fun Friday night.
Jake & The Jellyfish were next to take to the New Cross stage. The Leeds quartet have evolved a lot over the years, going from a folky punk band to a rawer sounding punk style. With this new raw sound there seems to be an added intensity to their live performances which I really enjoyed. On this occasion playing a set mostly comprised of songs from last year’s Long In Winters as well as a brand new one, the band always deliver live. Something that's even more impressive is that they seem to have had a slightly different line up every time I've seen them. Jake & The Jellyfish are among a number of UK bands who are really starting to hit their peak and have some very exciting things ahead of them. Finishing with 23 from 2015 album Dead Weight, it's always great to see Jake & The Jellyfish. Jake also has a fantastic new podcast named Desert Island Punks which you should go and check out here.
The first time I saw the Burnt Tapes it was as a last minute support act for Red City Radio at The Windmill in Brixton in 2015. I remember falling in love with them that night and saw so much potential in these guys. Four years later, Burnt Tapes were back supporting Red City Radio but under different circumstances. They have grown into what I think is the best punk band in the country, quickly gaining new fans with each release and every show they play. Now they were supporting RCR as a band that are very close to being a bona-fide headliner themselves. I'm pretty sure a decent amount of people were at the New Cross Inn particularly to see them and RCR was a nice added bonus. As soon the band started we were treated to another superb Burnt Tapes set. Of course it was great, I can't remember a time when they haven't been great. At this point it is getting hard for me to review them and not just sound the same but their songs are brilliant and they always get such a positive reaction from the crowd. It's fun watching the band all interact with each other on stage, they're so in sync with each other and this really adds to the band’s presence on stage. For me, Burnt Tapes have hit the early potential and far and away exceeded all expectations. It's surely not long now until they're headlining venues like NXI themselves and selling a lot of tickets.
The Inn was now a bit of a sweat box so we went outside for some cool air before Red City Radio. When we went back in, the room was packed so we made do with standing at the back of the room and having a sing and a dance rather than being right down the front of the stage. The front is where the real hardcore folk were however, who went completely nuts throughout the set. I can only imagine that there was a lake of sweat by the stage, come the end of the night – it was a warm one. Red City Radio are one of the most effortlessly cool bands on stage in the world at the moment, lead singer Garrett Dale in particular oozes with charisma and adds so much more to a song when it's played live. Starting out with Two Notes Shy Of An Octave, Two Out Of Three Ain't Rad and Two For Flinching (yup, all the twos), it didn't take long at all for the band to have the crowd in the palm of their hand. They continued to completely slay the crowd for what was almost an hour and a half as they played banger after banger. Other highlights were Pretend Kings, Electricity, a fantastic cover of Welcome To Paradise by Green Day and – what will probably forever be my highlight of an RCR set – Show Me On The Doll Where The Music Touched You, it's such a powerful and uplifting song. Red City Radio are one of my favourite live bands and it's always exciting when they come over. I'm already looking forward to the next time (which will be with Hot Water Music and Spanish Love Songs at the Underworld in November!). What a fun night we had.