Saturday, 6 October 2012

Our Time Has Come - An evening of pop punk reviewed

Our Time Down Here *****
Real Adventures *****
British Teeth *****

The Fighting Cocks Kingston 4th October 2012

Anyone who’s regularly digests my word farts or anyone who’s stumbled on them before will know that generally I don’t do the whole ‘genre’ thing. Ok, it can be useful when trying to describe bands, but the spuddy obsession with taxonomy and post this, melodic that and protopseudohardcoresoftbollocks crapola ultimately descends into Top Trumps, Pokemon-collecting geeky nerdiness at best but indulgent, unnecessary, ridiculous and walled garden Trekkie wank at worst.

Tonight, the broadest of churches that is ‘Pop Punk’ is proof positive that we need to get over the whole classification thing. The three bands I caught all supposedly purport to dwell in the pop punk back streets but offer such a wide range of noise, techniques and delivery, it clearly renders the ‘genrification’ pointless.

Before we kick off, got to say that I missed a couple of bands on Melody Pop’s well crafted bill, so apologies to Royal Fisticuffs and Home Advantage, the lure of faux Nando’s and booze proved just a little too much.

British Teeth *****
Clegg..let's open this shit up...
So, on walks an angry looking shaven dude. Covered in some fine ink. Head, neck, all sporting a fine array of craftsmanship. Looks aggressively punkily promising. 
We’re off…well, sort of. Don’t get me wrong the playing, the melodies were all there or there abouts; but despite Chris Graham’s serial murderer lifer looks, it all was a bit, well, nice.

I have to declare my hand at this point, I’m not a punk. And not really a ‘punk’ fan. I like loads of it. But have always struggled with the paradoxical anti-music, nihilism thing. That’s not to say that there hasn’t been some absolutely astonishing punk to light up our world. But in a genre built on attitude, you’ve either got it; or you ain’t. And while British Teeth go through the motions, they’re about as far from punk as could be.

The poor sods also experienced a tech nightmare when a bass string broke and had to gauchely ‘pad’ for two or three minutes while it was remedied. But the chat was all terribly polite. It was like having five Nick Cleggs on stage reminiscing about terribly amusing dorm underpant disasters.

Even a brave attempt to use a harmonica as a firelighter failed to get the heart racing and the flames burning. Hopefully, they’ll develop. Get an edge. Find more attitude and confidence. But at the moment, it feels like they’re an underdeveloped young wine. A nice wine. But in no way a punky bottle of fiery, lip-blistering unholy moonshine.

Real Adventures *****
Talking of developing; Guildford’s newest noisy bastards (file, if you must, alongside Polar and Palm Reader) are gathering a real momentum. They get sharper, tighter, sparkier and just better every time I see them. 

Tonight may slightly lack the overall boom of their tour-de-force at Burnout Festival back in July (largely due to a smaller, if not more dedicated crowd this evening), but they set controls to kill and, as an actual performance, it’s probably even better.

Despite struggling with man flu, Lewis Reynolds, the heavily inked Heroin-chic Big Issue salesman livewire frontman, leads by example, characteristically delivering his fierce growls and dervish hardcore moves from the room’s floor among the snap-back wearing acolytes.

This lot bristle with energy, talent and excitement. There is truly no way on God’s earth they should be described as pop punk. But if they feel comfortable with it, then so be it; suffice to say they truly bring a fresh and original twist to a rapidly tiring and fading derivative genre. Brilliant, original and spellbinding stuff.

Our Time Down Here *****
Now this lot really are pop punk. Standard. Good. But standard. All the boxes are ticked. Chuggy Green Day bits. Tick. Double time, chaotic drumming. Tick. Catchy melodies. Tick. Jangly bits. Tick. Riffs. Tick. Whiny downtown Brooklyn vox (albeit with Will Gould’s southern British twist which, at times, is strangely reminiscent of Carl Barat). Tick.

There’s nothing wrong with OTDH. But nothing startlingly right either. Juxtaposed with the originality and clever schtick of Real Adventures, they suffer by comparison. There’s nothing that new here. Nothing that truly marks them out or makes them genuinely memorable.

In fairness, not really my sort of thing, but they produce an energetic set that’s enthusiastically lapped up by the rucksack-sporting throng.  But I suppose my lingering feeling of mild disappointment stems from the tightness of the genre. So many bands strangely stick to the tried and tested. The expected. For a genre surely meant to be based on restlessness, change, challenge and sticking it to the man, there seems to be too much sticking to the plan.  Real Adventures don’t do it. Others need to learn. Don’t just break rules. Ignore them. Or even deny their existence.


Lower Than Atlantis, Gnarwolves and Don Broco next. Can’t wait.

More tunes soon, Bwoooar!

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