Capdown – Camden Underworld

By Andy

Three and a half years ago, Capdown played their last London gig with The King Blues. While the latter have sky-rocketed to the extent of headlining down the road at Koko last night, Milton Keynes? favourite sons played a final hometown show (administration and red-tape nightmares and all) and then went to ground until last year?s Slam Dunk Festival. Tonight – the band?s first outing since – has more than a touch of 2001 about it. Welcome to the Punktastic time machine.

Brixton sextet SKETS [3/5] have obviously read the manual on supporting Capdown. Play hard and fast. The South London outfit impresses with a noisy set punctuated with attitude. It?s punk rock by way of hardcore with the odd smattering of upstrokes; unpolished and firm.

On tonight?s bill, CLAYPIGEON [4/5] along with Random Hand probably owe the most to Capdown in terms of influence. Tonight the London quartet are tight, dealing from the Punktastic-approved debut album ?Time Won?t Cease?. Machine gun quick lyrics, big heavy licks and frantic ska strokes make the band an immediate crowd pleaser and lend to a performance that continues to endorse the band in a positive manner.

CHIEF [4/5] may be taking forever to release second album ?Apply Within? (next month on Household Name, honest) but the newly reshuffled Liverpool quintet still kick it live. The band?s politically-charged melodic hardcore spurts out into the nooks and crannies. A heavy dose of new material suggests good things to come from the album, while the energy on stage is infectious – real fist-in-the-air stuff.

DIRTY REVOLUTION [3.5/5] continue to develop and impress with new material. Tonight a brand new song is aired, a number that is reminiscent of ?Feel The Fear?, the incredible calypso/samba number. Add to this the likes of ?I Love Reggae? and ?Failure To Communicate? and you have a set that sits well with the ska fans and appeases the Dirty Revolution fans. More new material post haste, please.

For a second night in a row RANDOM HAND [3/5] graces a Camden stage but tonight it?s a little withdrawn. Having been band-of-the-night the evening before, a very truncated set means they don?t even get 30 minutes tonight. The result is an audience left panting for more. Still, in a short period of time the band manages to ignite the room, energy discharging at a tremendous rate from frontman Robin Leitch, and again, new song ?Three From Six? sounds sharp and striking live.

With a five-band prologue out of the way, CAPDOWN [5/5] arrive on stage to a welcome that would befit the second coming of, well, Capdown. Kick-starting the affair with ?Unite To Progress? and ?Keeping Up Appearances?, the MK quartet barrel their way into a set that well and truly harks back to the turn of the Millennium. ?We?re going to play some old stuff for you,? remarks frontman Jake Sims-Fielding. Old indeed, for the only song aired tonight that didn?t originate from the band?s first two albums (?Civil Disobedients? and ?Pound For The Sound?) is the aforementioned ?Keeping Up Appearances?.

Complaints won?t be heard from the capacity crowd though, just screaming, cheers, crowdsurfing, dodgy stage-dives, and the slick slapping of bodies coming together.

The band may not be as young or fit a decade on, but it?s impossible to deny that their performance is still impacting and impressive. To be honest, Capdown could have come out, muddled through three songs, departed and still been adored. To their credit though, there?s a hell of a lot of hard work going on here and every iota of applause is earned.

Song-wise you can checklist the set: ?Cousin Cleotis?, check. ?Strength In Numbers?, check. ?Faith No More?, check. ?An A-Political Stand For Reasons?, ?The Neverlution?, ?Pound For The Sound?, you get the impression. And then there?s the predictable but insanity-inducing closing pairing of ?Bitches And Nike Shoes? and ?Ska Wars? that just take things to another level. Forget the clichโ€šs, it?s not quite like the band never went away (the onstage panting gives that away) but it is a joyous return that has everyone in attendance (and a fair few who missed out) talking, both of the past and the future.

Nostalgia or not, Capdown still pack an almighty punch. With sweat dripping from the ceiling and a 500-strong crowd in front gasping for breath, the band take leave, but only for a couple of months this time around. Next stop, a July tour and festival season.


All photos by JOSEPH DUNCAN