Posted on August 9, 2010 - by Editor
Tuesday 3rd August 2010
(all photos are not from the actual show)
The first night of the series of gigs under the title of ‘Camden Carnage’ took place at Dingwalls in Camden and a skanking, reggaefied fiesta was in store for all. With The Skints a late surprise addition to the bill, they took to the stage quite early but a steady number of punters had already made their way through the doors which was a relief. We have reviewed the London four piece on a number of occasions and their rise in popularity has been matched by their improvement as musicians and hard work, as they criss-cross the UK and parts of Europe in support of a large
number of well known and influential bands, building up a healthy fan base for themselves. The release of their first full length also hinted a slight change in their sound from the early gigging; the band taking on a more dub, layered ska mix losing some of the punk ferocity. They have solidified their identity as well and grown more comfortable as a band, with Marcia on organ, sax and a range of other instruments now at ease on centre stage singing with her beautiful voice on an increasing number of songs. Although the bulk of the vocals are still shared by Josh on guitar and Jamie on drums, there is healthy balance to the band as long as they don’t stray too far into the chilled out vibes and end up a young man’s UB40! An enjoyable set which set the groovy tone for the night.
Dutch/American combo band Jaya The Cat, play a different venue in London for the first time by my recollection, but prepare for it in their typical low key laid back style, Geoff with his inseparable pair of sunglasses easing onto the stage. The band have increased their profile significantly over the previous few years in the UK since the release of “Late Night Transmissions with…” with songs such as ‘Good Morning’, ‘Hello Hangover’, ‘Night Bus’ and highly favoured ‘Thank You Reggae’ which Geoff suggests was inspired after seeing The Aggrolites a few years back and is a ode to all the reggae type bands that have inspired him; Operation Ivy, Sublime etc. The shouts of “Thank You….thank You Reggae” always a fun and easily provoked crowd interaction. Along with the afore mentioned
album top-heavy set, other songs such as ‘Forward’ and ‘Nobody’s Fault’ are notable but despite promises of a new record in the works the band are in desperate need of new material as the set list has varied very little in their growing number of visits to the UK. That said the sweaty energy and mix of pace from punky reggae to shoulder swaying slow is always fun and Jaya The Cat don’t disappoint in entertaining.
The Aggrolites have also by now frequented London a number of times in recent years, a mix of headline shows (including previously at Dingwalls) and in support of bands such as Rancid. The band lead by the incredibly capable Jesse Wagner who is a pocket rocket of sorts, always a bundle of energy but carrying a slightly constipated facial expression as he tries to turn up the noise and energy levels of everyone in the venue. The band are a incredibly skilled group of musicians and their matching attire quickly darkens and dampens as they bounce around the stage to ‘Mr. Misery’, ‘Funky Fire’, ‘Work It’ and endless more. The crowd are by now in full dancing mode but pick their songs to really let go; the band has built up a large back catalogue already (all of their albums are lengthy to say the least).
The one problem I have at times with the Los Angeles band is that musically they are thoroughly enjoyable, whether
live or simply listening through your headphones but the set reaches a stage where it could be a band jam session as the songs are all bridged without breaks and the band choose to play this nonstop format with little banter except when Jesse tries to raise the crowd levels another notch. The long uninterrupted breaks, purposefully done so as a throwback to personal band inspirations I would assume, does result in the set becoming a little exhaustive. That said, there is plenty of opportunity as a member of the crowd to get involved, sit back and admire or even take a break but rarely in my opinion to stay 100% committed to the entire set. The Aggrolites are a great band, no mistaking that, and are definitely responsible for leading a fight in bringing back more traditional ska/reggae within the punk rock community and we should all be thankful for that!
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