Captain Everything – Camden Underworld

By Andy

Brighton’s RANDOM HEROES took to the stage at some absurdly early hour and were met with a surprisingly not-empty Underworld. They then proceeded to blast out a tight, focussed set of pop-punk in the truest sense of the term: catchy songs that retained more than their fair share of abrasive charm. This being their first visit to Camden’s most famous basement they did look slightly nervous at the start of the set, but became visibly more comfortable as they progressed, meaning that by the end they’d grabbed everyone’s attention. And how to make a very good set even better? Cover a Kid Dynamite song. Random Heroes showed that any progress they make in terms of size and fanbase is more than justified (9).

HI-TECH JET were up next, and their mixture of heavy riffs and thick grooves did not sit flush with a crowd still buzzing from the energy of Random Heroes. That said, they did grow into their set impressively, and while you get the sense that they’re a very proficient band, they did suffer from the audience perhaps wanting a pacier, more melodic set. As such, they only managed to come across as average (6).

Late replacements for Mouthwash, YOU, ME AND THE ATOM BOMB, were the next batch of entertainment and managed to bridge the gap between melody and rhythm with alarming skill. With big choruses that could easily be described as anthemic, and a ferocity and heft that suggest that given the right recording they could be one of the UK’s foremost punk rock bands, YMATAB were a superb surprise for those of us that had never checked them out. Even though their performance was a touch sloppy in parts, the depth of songwriting talent and sheer enthusiasm more than compensated, meaning that they’re definitely one to watch (8).

A wise man once said that if Random Heroes were shit they’d be THE FIGHT (cheers Andy), so with that in mind I purposely took residence at the bar. They’re not all that bad, if truth be told, but nor are they spectacular. With a bit more charisma and original ideas they could be a band worth caring about, but as it is they need to work a lot harder to justify the support slots they regularly get.

But then ADEQUATE SEVEN took the stage and the Underworld seemed to fill up in an instant. Launching directly into ‘The State We’re In’, the band exploded in a flurry of brass, limbs and pink tank-tops as the entire dancefloor started throwing some crazy shapes. Arguably Ad7’s greatest talent is to make even the most concrete-footed, inhibited punk want to dance and this was demonstrated by a set that encompassed old classics (and lest we forget, the sheer amount of time since they released their debut means that not only are Ad7 true veterans of the UK punk scene, but they’re one of the most fervently adored) like ‘Protest Beat’ and the ridiculously brilliant ‘Free The Adequate Seven’ as well as new favourites-in-waiting. Thrillingly enough all the new songs they played sat snugly alongside the crowd-pleasers as firm evidence that as soon as they get their shit together they’ll be heading into orbit. For three quarters of an hour no pair of feet was static, and that’s not something you can say about many audience responses. Why? Because Adequate Seven are just as incredible live as they always have been (10).

Even though they haven’t released a new album in what feels like aeons, (almost) local heroes CAPTAIN EVERYTHING are visibly surprised and ecstatic to see just how many people have turned up to go nuts as soon as they come onstage. And the perfect opening of ‘Watford Pride’ followed by a new song, then a constant flood (45 minutes equals about, oooh, three hundred C*E tunes) of razor-sharp pop-punk anthems is precisely what Christmas is all about. What swiftly becomes evident is quite how many people still utterly love this band, as human pyramids, a rendition of ‘Silent Night’, constant crowd surfers, in-jokes and even Jon being lifted two feet in the air (replete with mic stand and a baffled look on his face) punctuate one of the best Captain Everything sets I can remember. Just as Ad7’s new material melds perfectly with their back catalogue, as does t’Everything’s, and we’re never far away from yet another magic airing of ‘My Girlfriend’s Dad Owns A Sweatshop’ or ‘Petrol Fumes’ or ‘There Is No I In Scene’ or ‘The One Minute Love Song’ or…just about everything they play. On a night where two bands that haven’t recently released new albums can pack out a venue like this, a good few years after the UK scene’s bubble was meant to have burst, it’s nothing short of a party. One of the best gigs in months, with two utterly fantastic homegrown bands showing exactly why they deserve all the admiration and respect that have earned thus far. C*E get a (10) too, because they were just perfect.