Posted on February 4, 2010 - by Editor
Friday January 29th 2010
I arrived as quickly and early as I could at Koko, a venue increasingly being used in London since the closure of the Astoria and Mean fiddler venues nearby and as London lacks midsized venues for line-ups like tonight, I’m going to have to learn to overcome my own reluctance to go to gigs at the North London venue!
First up are Manchester’s Sonic Boom Six, a band familiar to both American band billing counterparts on the night after they toured Stateside themselves and have supported them in the UK extensively in the past. Although I only catch the last four or five songs due to the unfortunate early start on a Friday evening there is a already a buzz and good crowd energy and the band has on display their new guitarist which the band self professes has meant it’s been a odd evening but is thankful of the frenzied support. The levels of enthusiasm at the front of the moshpit despite the early kick off is also commendable from my bird’s eye view behind the sound desk. I’m not too familiar with the songs of the band but I’m pretty sure “Piggy in the middle” ends of their set and the predominantly teen filled crowd gives their all in thanks to the band kicking off proceedings.
Boston’s Big D and The Kids Table, after their previous record “Fluent In Stroll” has probably left their fans polarised in
the likes and like-not’s with the change in direction on record, the band has bought along a trio of eye candy in the form of backing female singers “The Doped Up Dollies” to support the new songs on tour. The backup trio with their ‘doo wops’ and appearance with some great energy and animated vocals add a bit of colour and class to the night. David McWane is a enigmatic lead, dancing and singing from the front while the horns add their element of punch. I like the sound, aiming for the big band styling’s of yesteryear but the band doesn’t forget its roots and throws in some faster punk ska numbers to get the pit going. The constant imagery and video on the backdrop screen support the dancing and style of the sound and although the crowd by en large look a bit confused and tentative at how to move their bodies to newer material it seems to be appreciated none the less. Jokes during the set concentrate on tour highlights which include the guitarist being caught wanking in the bathroom! (Sean P. Rogan, while officially in the band, is not touring but Suburban Legends guitarist, Brian Klemm is the current touring guitarist.) Add in the little vocal number from one of the backing singers and the general swaying fun good times it made for a fun and enjoyable set.
Headliners and seemingly perennial visitors to these shores, Reel Big Fish have changed little in the past six years or so that I have seen them perform and I’m still undecided on whether that is a good or bad thing. You certainly know what
you get with the ska-punk jokesters, but the punch lines and banter can get stale after seeing the band a few times. That aside it’s still predominantly good fun and with their great cover songs thrown in amongst the bands own lengthy back catalogue of songs, it always ensures a hefty and boisterous crowd sing along with most bodies generating friction on the dance floor.
Mid-set the band (with front man Aaron Barnett adorning a stylish red jacket and trademark sideburns) are joined by Laila Khan from SBS to take on the vocal responsibilities for “She’s Got A Girlfriend Now” and later on an old school rocker, carrying on their theme from their most recent album cover; “Fame Fortune and Fornication “dressed in mighty long rocker hair and stylish 70’s rocker tight pants.
The pre-encore collection of songs is my personal favourite selection with ‘Where Have You Been?’ followed by The Ah-Ha cover ‘Take on Me’ but during the lengthy set the band plays material from across their albums amongst others; ‘Everything Sucks’, ‘I Want Your Girlfriend to Be My Girlfriend Too’ and in contention with Me First and The Gimme Gimmes as THE cover band, perform versions of ‘Brown Eyed Girl’ and ‘Pressure Drop’.
They return to the stage to play their elongated cover version of ‘Suburban Rhythm’ to prove they are “Masters” (that needs to be read accompanied with loud drums and guitars and screams) in all the different RBF styling’s which tonight see death metal, punk rock, reggae amongst others. They end the set with and night at a frustratingly early ten in the evening due to a pending club night (Oh London how you annoy me) with old classic ‘Beer’ joined on stage by members of the bands and support throughout the night.
And that was that, a good night and good fun of meaningful silliness except for the ridiculously long wait to exit the venue, ‘nuff said.
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