Lagwagon – Mean Fiddler, London

By paul

Lagwagon + Young Guns & Friends of Ken
Man Fiddler, London
Saturday 14th April 2007

London’s seediest club venue is home to one hell of a pop-punk party tonight, roping in a crowd that ranges from 13 year old newbies to mid-thirties veteran Lagwagon fanatics. Before getting to see Joey Cape & friends play their first set in London for a while, there’s a substantial amount of musical torture to be endured.

Opening the evening are Stoke-on-Trent’s Friends of Ken. Make no mistake about it, this band are completely worthless. They play the most simplistic form of pop-punk imaginable, and hell do they play it badly. Between the drummer losing time at several points in the set, to their red-haired frontman struggling to find a melody, it really is a painful, and not to mention excessively long 30 minute set for several hundred Lagwagon fans to sit through.

Young Guns don’t manage to get things off to a better start either. Frontman Gustav appears to have modelled his stage choreography on that of The Academy Is..’s William Beckett, only he forgot that singing in tune is substantially more important than working up a sweat. It really is a shame, because I know how much fun these guys are on record, and to be completely unable to pull it off live is upsetting.

After far, far too long, Lagwagon hit the stage and save the evening from being a complete write-off. Joey & Co. still have what it take to win a crowd over, and it’s great to see guys in their late thirties still doing what they love, and still making it as fun as ever. Powering through a set of the best part of two dozen songs, they squeeze in tracks from the whole length of their career, with extra-special Kudos being awarded for brilliant renditions of ‘Bury the Hatchet’ and ‘Black Eyes‘. While they may have been taking some time off, and with no firm plans to make another album just yet, it’s reassuring to know that the old guys still do it best, and tonight is concrete evidence of that.