LIVE: Me First And The Gimme Gimmes / The Skints / Capdown @ O2 Academy, Brixton

By Samarth Kanal

Picture obviously not taken at Brixton Academy.

Describing somebody as a “dad” comes with a bunch of connotations, perhaps implying a clumsy but well meaning figure who is past the point of fitting in. Capdown are a band fronted by somebody who could well have been a complete and utter dad, but Jake Sims-Fielding is far from being a clumsy oaf of a front-man. With such a strong lead vocalist and saxophonist, Capdown exuded fervour last night, with the Brixton Academy looking nothing like the huge, echoey hall of people that it could well have appeared to be. The Household Name Records ska-stalwarts started their set at 7pm, which meant that the huge venue wasn’t as full as it could have been but they made the most of it. The crowd responded in kind though, skanking and two-stepping with the same speed and energy that Capdown have mastered during their seventeen-year existence. ‘Cousin Cleotis’ and ‘Ska Wars’ were highlights in a set that the band absolutely nailed. Figurative dads, they were certainly not.

This was an odd arrangement that the Jagermeister Music Tour had on its bill, with The Skints and Me First and the Gimme Gimmes co-headlining, and Capdown supporting. The issue here was that Capdown came out swinging and crashing about whereas The Skints slowed everything down again. It really did feel odd but the crowd weren’t as phased, perhaps because the air seemed to smell slightly different about ten minutes into The Skints’s set. Slowed down perhaps, but The Skints were tight and Marcia Richards’s vocals were laden with soul, though the huge amount of reverb effects diluted what could have been a clearer-sounding performance. Credit has to go to drummer Jamie Kyriakides, failing to miss a single beat whilst spitting out his vocals with verve. This was more reggae than punk, with the echoey vocals taking centre-stage while the guitar and drums were somewhat subdued; deliberately done of course but in the context of such a tour, some more aggression and energy could have gone a long way.

Going back to the tenuous analogy resulting from a hangover (brought on by too many reasonably priced shots at the O2 Academy), Me First and The Gimme Gimmes are certainly worthy of being labelled “dads”. Matching Hawaiian shirts and aviators complemented The Gimmes’s liberal use of puns and inexplicable career as a punk cover band very well. Speaking of dad jokes, lead singer Spike Slawson repeatedly saying that “the next song is a cover” was really up there. The crowd were totally on board, belting out every part of the set-list mostly composed of songs from their latest release, ‘Are we not Men? We are Diva!’, with songs such as ‘Karma Chameleon’ and ‘I Will Survive’ being fully bolstered. The Gimme Gimmes don’t just churn out half-baked Oasis covers, delivering punchy, tongue-in-cheek re-workings of some ridiculous song choices instead – and it works. As the delivery was fine, the band should be judged on the strength of their set-list above anything else, which was a very strong one indeed with a cover of Slade’s ‘Merry Christmas Everybody’ bringing the whole room together towards the end. Dads, they may be, but Me First and The Gimme Gimmes know how to throw a party.