LIVE: Lit @ London KOKO, 13/06/2013

By Ben Tipple

There are two types of people at tonight’s show – those that grew up listening to grunge pop-punk outfit Lit and are able to shout every word back in time, and those who know that song about getting drunk and kicking the shit out of me. This might be a slight exaggeration, but you get the point.

This reviewer falls into the latter.

It doesn’t make a huge difference either way – Lit are clearly on form tonight whichever way you approach them, however after eleven years away, those with a connection to the band are witnessing something truly spectacular.

Frontman A. Jay Popoff is the epitome of a rockstar, and as is pointed out throughout the night, perhaps the last one of his generation. As flamboyant as he is intimidating, Popoff dons an unzipped leather jacket for the start of the set before discarding it altogether, consistently swigging out of an ever-depleting bottle of Jagermeister or an unsophisticated bottle of wine.

Jager and wine is nobody’s friend, yet Popoff holds his liquor. Although getting noticeably more inebriated as the set continues, there is little effect on his vocal chords. Inevitably the banter between tracks does get more colourful as time goes on.

Flitting between new and old, the biggest reactions are reserved for the likes of ‘Over My Head’, ‘Zip-lock’, the visceral ‘Miserable’ or the aforementioned ‘My Own Worst Enemy’. A ripple of appreciation spreads through the crowd for any of the older cult material, matched only by an equal ripple of delayed admiration by those new to the tracks.

The morose side of Lit’s grungier songs adds a vicious flow to the evening – one that remains throughout. Mixed with the regular banter and alcohol fuelled performance (at least from centre stage), this generate one of the most fundamentally punk performances the KOKO has seen this year. When the music turns lighter it doesn’t distract from the gritty atmosphere, and more surprisingly doesn’t contradict it.

Other than the odd decision to throw in a comparably unknown song after ‘My Own Worst Enemy’ – the stage invasion and thunderous applause should probably have marked the end of the set judging by the onlookers’ confusion – Lit are absolutely excellent. Tonight is overflowing with gritty and raucous energy. Regardless of whether you knew the band eleven years ago, or turned up tonight for the first time, this is one hell of a punk party.