LIVE: The Movielife / Gnarwolves / Apologies, I Have None @ The Electric Ballroom, London

By Glen Bushell

Reunions are never shocking anymore. Every week another band from “back in the day” announces their return, and while some are more surprising than others, it always felt like The Movielife never really closed the door completely after their original run, and that this was bound to happen eventually. When vocalist Vinnie Caruana informs the Electric Ballroom later in the evening that they very nearly missed the show due to flight delays, and even purchased new plane tickets just so they could make it, it shows how much bringing the band back means to them. They are not the only ones either, as while there have been a couple of moments where the band reunited for one-off shows, tonight marks the The Movielife’s first UK show in 12 years, so understandably both emotion and expectation are riding high on tonight’s performance from the crowd as well.

Kicking proceedings off tonight are London punks Apologies, I Have None, and their sense of melody with a hardened edge certainly makes for great listening. Of course being the opening band on a show like tonight is never easy, and the stifling heat in the venue doesn’t help matters, so they draw only a modest crowd. The same can be said for Brighton cru Gnarwolves, who on any given day can ignite a crowd wherever they go, but again the faithful in attendance nod along appreciatively to ‘History Is Bunk’ and ‘Melody Has Big Plans’ rather than going crazy. Both opening bands provide an ample warm up, but there’s no denying who everyone is here to see tonight.

Quite literally out of nowhere, the Electric Ballroom goes from half empty to almost too full as ‘The Universal’ by Blur is blared out from the PA. It may seem like a bizarre choice for the Long-Island punk band to enter the stage to, but as the crowd chants along to the chorus of “It really really really could happen”, it proves to be somewhat of a fitting precursor to their performance. While the crowd is home to everyone from young punks to bearded scene veterans, conversations can be heard around the room how tonight will be the first time many are seeing The Movielife, and tonight it really will happen.

From the moment The Movielife explode with ‘Face or Kneecaps’, the whole room goes crazy, and hangs on every word Vinnie Caruana utters. It is almost like being greeted by a familiar friend when they give ‘Pinky Swear’ and early outing, and unsurprisingly every voice can be heard screaming back the end line of ‘I Hope You Die Soon’. Smiles that adorn the faces of every member of the band through ‘This Time Next Year’ send a warm feeling through you as it appears more than just a nostalgic trip down memory lane, or just a pay day, and that they really are enjoying the chance to revisit these songs.

“I think you might know this one” Caruana informs the audience, before guitarist Brandon Reilly begins the instantly recognisable opening riff of ‘Walking On Glass’ , and the chorus of voices from the audience almost eclipse the band during ‘Kellys Song’. While it was tracks like the aforementioned that introduced a lot of people to The Movielife, you can tell that their adoring fan base have done their homework when the band digs deep into their back catalogue for a storming rendition of ‘Maybe It’s Nothing’ from their debut album ‘Its Go Time’. That still pales in comparison to the chaos that ensues for ‘Once In A Row’. Of course no set from The Movielife would be complete without ‘Jamestown’, which brings tonight to a close in grandiose fashion.

When Caruana politely tells the audience “We’d like to come back and see you soon, if that’s OK?”, the cheer that he receives in return shows that he didn’t really have to ask. Which of course means that The Movielife’s reunion won’t be short lived, and certainly not as half-hearted as some reunions that have passed through the nation’s capital in the last few years. It may have taken them 12 years to return, but it was nothing short of a triumphant one, and it was almost like they never went away in the first place.