Big D & The Kids Table – Camden Underworld

By paul

Punktastic presents: 4 GIGS, 1 REVIEW

Sometimes there are just too many gigs. Okay, that?s a lie. There is, of course, no such thing as too many gigs (unless you?re a band that?s been on the road for 300+ shows a year). Let?s put it another way: sometimes as a reviewer it?s hard to write about every gig out there (whilst maintaining some semblance of a ?normal life?). August is always one of those times. Festival season is in full swing and bands are splicing gigs in all over the shop. So, whilst Punktastic missed out on the Blackpool shenanigans of the Rebellion Festival (next year, I promise), gears up for Reading (another novella of a review, anyone?), here?s a (not quite) succinct snapshot of a week (well, 8 days) in August.

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THE KING BLUES // DON BROCO @ Corn Exchange, Bedford (06.08.10)

More suited to the likes of the Moscow City Ballet and Joe Pasquale, the Corn Exchange in Bedford isn?t the sort of place Punktastic can be accused of frequenting. Tonight though, we?ve made the trip to this ?upmarket? venue just in time to see DON BROCO doing what Don Broco does best: bringing the party. From the off the hometown band is bounding about the stage, delivering a slab of party beats and bruising riffs in a pop-punk/nu-metal cacophony. Good fun (as usual). (3.5/5)

It?s been a tough year for THE KING BLUES (guitarist Jamie Jazz will tell you it?s been the toughest year) what with label drops, member swaps and an ever changing fanbase, but the Hackney outfit is defiantly trooping on and, dare I say it, almost surprisingly, sounding really, really good. Surprising because of internet backlash you sort of expect the band to be poor. No, the new songs don?t sound like (as good as) ?Under The Fog? material. Yes, it is more ?poppy?. No, there isn?t all that much to remind you of those days playing grimy venues/squats/bathrooms everywhere. Put aside all preconceptions and The King Blues prove impressive live. It?s impossible to deny that Itch Fox is an incredible frontman, and tonight he leads his band on a sterling, crowd-winning performance. No this isn?t The King Blues of old, but it?s just plain silly to write the band off just yet. Certainly on this type of showing (4/5)

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THE SLACKERS // GECKO @ Jazz Caf‚, Camden (10.08.10)

Continuing our tour of ?Venues Too Nice To Let Punktastic Into?, a soggy Tuesday evening sees GECKO calmly starting proceedings at Camden?s Jazz Caf‚, a venue seeped in history and bit nice. Since the last time we reviewed the band live there?s been a ?beefing out? of the band (tonight, a five-piece) and the sound (?Stop. Look. Lizard? proved to be an impressively layered EP), and even an air of suaveness. Taking the venue and company in stripe, Will Sanderson-Thwaite and co. impress the early birds with acoustic ska-pop, slicked back with wit and quirkiness. Enjoyable. (3.5/5)

It was only a few months back that we reviewed THE SLACKERS playing across town but there?s a whole multitude of different things to say this time around. A list of band quirks tonight could fill a review, but in the interest of keeping things relatively brief, here?re a quick rundown. Firstly, the disappointingly short set from last time is rectified in the form of two sets tonight. The NY legends play for in excess of two hours, yet still the setlist is seriously varied. In fact, you could go so far as to say this is a fan-only mix; there?s more than a few songs that maybe you expect to hear missing, whilst early material is prevalent. In all, a band that rarely plays a bum note somehow manages to knock it up a notch, yet again. (5/5)

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Hello there, Underworld. Oh how familiar you feel. And, oh joy, I see you have ?that? early slot still. Bridgend ska-core punkers BROKEN NOSE plays to an early Friday evening crowd and, unfortunately, Punktastic misses all but three songs. That?s enough though to whet the appetite. The band has a pretty diverse sound and a lot of energy. One to catch next time around.

No matter how hard we try to not look stalkerish, two bands keep popping up on the live radar this year. One is Dirty Revolution and the other is Mouthwash, and as chance would have it the two play in quick succession tonight. DIRTY REVOLUTION performs to what is possibly the Cardiff outfits biggest London crowd so far (not bad for the still early time), serenading this part of NW1 with upbeat ska, roots reggae, and ?Feel The Fear?, a calypso number that?s simply hard to get enough off. There?s not all that much to pick this out from recent performances but that?s testament to how the band has grown into this set. (3.5/5)

MOUTHWASH sounds like a broken record. Sorry, I sound like a broken record. Mouthwash is simply one of the best live bands on the circuit. How many ways can you say it (four reviews this year!)? Intense booming bass. Dirty, grimy guitars. Mad energy. Tonight, a trumpet! A new song. Even a stage invasion of epic proportions.
It?s time to stop trying to describe how good this band is. (4.5/5)

Whilst last year?s ?Fluent In Stroll? album wasn?t all that immediate, it is actually a decent record, particularly soulful backing singers, The Doped Up Dollies. It?s a shame that then that the Dollies haven?t made their way across the Atlantic with BIG D & THE KIDS TABLE because it means tonight?s set is, understandably, very light on new material. And that?s a problem. Yes, it?s hard not to enjoy the likes of ?LAX? and ?Shining On?, but that new material is itching to be heard, particularly after the poor sound at Koko earlier this year. Still, there?s an offering of fan-friendly ?older? material tonight to keep the die-hards happy and newbie ?Describing the Sky? does end up sounding lush. (3/5)

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GOOBER PATROL // VANILLA POD // DUNCAN REDMONDS @ The Gaff, Holloway Road, London (14.08.10)

Dusty, ornamental skeletons. Grotty carpet. Tacky fixtures. J„germeister flags. Dodgy toilets. Red Stripe on tap. The Gaff is just the sort of place Punktastic is used to. Oh, except for the two hour wait before anything actually happens! When DUNCAN REDMONDS (he of Snuff fame) does take to the stage he?s brought a paper candle/lantern thing. How suiting. Now, Redmonds isn?t the most serious of people but tonight?s set is another level lax. What with banter, cheer-alongs, and pontificating that most of the London crowd is actually from King?s Lynn (it?s true), we?re treated to four songs tops. But, it actually works. Redmonds? normal set is enjoyable but tonight his mood sets the mood for the show: it?s all about having fun. Lots of drunken fun. (3/5)

For bassist Tom Blythe tonight?s gig marks his last performance with VANILLA POD. Commitments with other bands (including tonight?s headliners) means he?ll no longer be plucking the four-string for everybody?s favourite tractor boys. In terms of ?last hurrahs? the band puts on a good?un, despite being one guitarist down. The King?s Lynn?sorry, London crowd is treated to a sharp set of traditional Pod skater punk, with new album, ?Poets on Payday? shining through. It?s not polished. It?s not crisp. It is fast. It is fun. And it is drunken. Exactly how this type of music should be played. So long, Tom Goober. (4.5/5)

Hello, Tom Goober. Okay, so he?s not really gone all that far. Blythe?s double duty finishes tonight with a rare sighting of GOOBER PATROL. Yep, the Fat Wreck stalwarts are still going, and tonight the band?s particular brand of drunken, pop-punk japery makes for a very decent end to the evening, and indeed the week. ?The Biggest Joke? may well be 14+ years old but it still sounds fantastic live, especially in this type of dive. Let?s face it, Goober Patrol may not cerebrally test, but you can?t argue the band?s fun factor. (4/5)

Alex Hambleton