Big D & The Kids Table – London Camden Underworld

By Andy

So while all you lucky buggers got to witness the mighty PB3 up in Sheffield I was stuck back home. Oh no, looks like I’ll have to go to a quality gig showcasing some of the best bands around? Damn!

I had no idea who the opening band were so I had to ask the singer. I was going to berate him for trying to sound too American and whining far too much, then I realised that they were American. Oh well, FANDANGLE are a fairly impressive ska punk band with bags of energy and they certainly know one end of a tune from another. Trouble is, they never really deviated from the standard ska template even though their horn section in particular showed much talent and promise. They weren’t helped by a quite icy crowd who never really seemed willing to have a dance but to be honest there was nothing to set them apart from any other ska punk band. They did the jaunty off-beat stuff, then some harder edged punk rock but it never seemed anything more than formulaic. Solid but somewhat subdued. (6)

It was my first time seeing PHINIUS GAGE after hearing so much about them on this very site. I was looking forward to them and boy, was I impressed. For such a relatively young band they certainly displayed a confidence and surety that was transferred into their songs with a slickness and energy which was most welcome. Blasting out tracks from their ‘More Haste More Speed’ they appeared to win more of the crowd over as the set went on with their abrasive punk rock with lashings of melodic riffing. Speaking to Pie afterwards he said this wasn’t their best show but they were still damn good. With a pounding rythmn and relentless guitar work they thundered through their set coming off like Lagwagon with a more distinctive vocal presence that suggests that big things are coming their way. More please. (8)

The band I really came for (and interviewed – watch this space for the full embarrassing transcript) were Bristol’s KENISIA. Bounding onstage they proceeded to play at an intensity that just made it impossible not to dance around and have a good time. The majority of the set was from the ‘Nothing To Say’ (wait for the interview for the full shame of my poor journalism…) album with highlights being ‘I Don’t Like You’, ‘Breakdown’ and the utterly fantastic ‘Dress Like A Pimp’. Drawing the biggest crowd of the night so far this band come off so much better live than on CD because they just threw everything into their performance. A blend of Capdown-style skacore with more emphasis on the brass, they aptly demonstrated that they can play either all out ska or heavier punk rock, sometimes straying into vague hardcore-ish territory with ease. The stage banter was kept slightly minimal due to the time constraints but they still built up a rapport with the crowd, as the icing on the cake of a superb performance. (9)

And the band the old-school punks were waiting for: THE FOAMERS. I couldn’t really see straight at this point due to being smacked right in the face towards the end of Kenisia‘s set so I stood back for this set. I know that I’ve waxed lyrical about many of the bands but I might just have to do the same about this one. The second band on HHN for the night played with an intensity and rawness that gace the music an aggressive quality that just can’t be faked. From the very first note to the last riff they pounded seven shades of shit out of their instruments, with the music veering from almost Five Knuckle-style hardcore to temporary bursts of ska that served to mix up the set so as not to let anything seem repetitive. Like I said, I wasn’t fully compus mentus during the set but what I did hear I liked a helluva lot. (7)

Headliner time, and time for BIG D AND THE KIDS TABLE to step up and take their turn on an already mighty impressive night. The set didn’t really get started until the second song, a brutally awesome ‘LAX’ that thudded out of the amps with the subtlety and grace of a sumo wrestler doing a belly flop. And fucking hell it was stunning. The vocalist put his all into every word as the harsh mix of punk rock with some innovative horn lines continued throughout the set until about 5 songs from the end when they decided to concentrate on mainly ska songs. Now was pretty much everyone on this site knows by now I’m a huge ska fan, but Big D let themselves down by being slightly lazy. When they mix ska and fast punk rock they’re untouchable, but when they leave out the punk rock it just seems samey and predictable. It was a real shock for me to realise that I was thinking this but the majority of the ska songs went practically nowhere and were begging for a big crunch of guitar or bass to get things going instead of the languid, floating horns. Don’t get me wrong, their ska is good but it doesn’t have the invention of their harder material. I suppose it’s a testament to their enduring quality that the set still easily rates an (8) even if it took a slight downturn.


And to the fucker who almost broke my nose: I wish you eternal and unrelenting pain.