LIVE: The Menzingers / Tigers Jaw / Muncie Girls @ The Underworld, London [03/08/2013]

By Ben Tipple

This is a picture of the Menzingers at the Fighting Cocks because we don’t have one from The Underworld ready just yet. This is what they look like though

With the unfortunate cancellation of Hevy Festival this year, London found itself awash with a load of high-profile performances over one weekend at the start of August (You may have already seen our reviews of the Killswitch Engage and Comeback Kid shows which took place the following day.) Over on Tottenham Court Road, HORSE The Band were undoubtedly readying themselves to lay waste to the Borderline as the queue built outside a sold out Underworld for a rather awesome Saturday night punk rock show.

As Muncie Girls take to the stage only fifteen minutes after the doors open, they initially find themselves performing to only a smattering of people. Still, the opportunity to support on a show like this doesn’t often rear its head, and vocalist Lande Hekt looks more than pleased with the goings on. Their pop-punk proves a good fit as a precursor to the two, rather distinct bands that follow, and the crowd fills out nicely by the end of their set. You’ll be hearing more about Muncie Girls come their pending record release.

This is the second time we have seen Tigers Jaw in the last two days, and today doesn’t quite cut it. Perhaps blinded from last night’s intimate performance, the tracks disappointingly blend into each other this evening, often drowned out by the sound of chatter from those awaiting the headlining act. There is little showmanship directed from the stage, and the awkwardness that was so endearing in a smaller venue is all-but engulfed by the comparably vast Underworld. The crowd-pleasing double of ‘Planes…’ and ‘I Saw Water’ at the end of the set encourage a sing-along from the dedicated hardcore fans, yet the set lacks the energy demanded by the anticipatory crowd.

A lack of energy is not something that could be held against tonight’s headliners Epitaph Records signed, Punktastic Album Of The Year 2012 winners and Philadelphia punks The Menzingers. Making their name through more melody driven and emotionally charged punk, the voices booming back at the stage are often louder than those coming through the PA. Frontmen Tom May and Greg Barnett bring the vocals to life, successfully managing to push more attitude out of their mouths than even on their seminal records. When contending with the more melodic moments, the atmosphere remains heavily charged, making it all even more excited.

Preforming a setlist spanning all three albums, it is perhaps unsurprising that the highest proportion of songs taken from any album stem from ‘On The Impossible Past’. That said, a cover of The Lawrence Arms’ ‘Are You There Margaret? It’s Me God’ and an encore of non-album track ‘Irish Goodbyes’ help to show that this band has more to them than their most recent critically acclaimed album.

The Menzingers are faster and punchier than you might expect in a live setting. Ultimately they want to take you for an east coast punk ride, and be warned – it’s going to get sweaty.