LIVE: The Smith Street Band / Muncie Girls / Shit Present @ The Lexington, London

By Lucinda Livingstone

A Saturday night at The Lexington is never a quiet one. Before a band even step on stage the room is full to the brim and the floor already a little sticky. Let’s blame that on the frozen margaritas they serve downstairs. The line up tonight is a punk rock dream: The Smith Street Band with support from Shit Present and Muncie Girls.

Newly formed from Exeter, by Iona Cairns (Great Cynics), Shit Present are a supergroup made up of members and ex members of Gnarwolves, Ok Pilot, The Computers & The Smith Street Band. Despite being new arrivals on the scene the set is well received, and their freshly streamed track ‘Anxious Type’ goes down a treat. Shit Present’s debut is soon to be released on Specialist Subjects this year and is not to be missed.

It seems Exeter are on good form tonight, with southern punks Muncie Girls taking over. Having trudged all over the UK’s music scene over the past few years it’s great to see them in their element getting the recognition they deserve on a line up that’s so well suited. Vocalist Lande’s voice fills the room as she belts out ‘The Real You’ (Muncie Girls/Great Cynics Split) to a slightly tipsy, animated crowd. They play a tight energetic set, and the audience hang off every word in return.

After two set’s from Exerter’s best it’s time to change things up. Australian born and bread The Smith Street Band have visited the UK in support of The Menzingers and Apologies I have None in previous years. A headline show from the band has been long overdue, and welcomed with open arms by the UK.

The Lexington was made for shows like this. The sold out 200 cap room is overflowing and the frozen margaritas are definitely flowing, as Will, Chris, Lee and Fitzy make their way through the crowd to the stage to a warm elated reception. TSSB kick off with ‘Something I can Hold in my Hands’ prompting a lot of glasses to clink together, and a huge singalong to follow. By the end the whole room has turned into a sweaty hot mess, and the band rattle out a fury-filled 13 song set including ‘Ducks Fly Together’, ‘Sunshine and Technology’ and ‘I Don’t Wanna Die Anymore’.

The emotion that vocalist Will captures on record is a whole different experience live. He injects every last ounce of energy into his playing, and during ‘Don’t Fuck With Our Dreams’ emotions are running high. The band seemed overjoyed at the sight of a sold out show, and there were definitely a few tears blinked back on the punters part after this one.

As we’re nearing the end of the set we hear ‘Throw Me In The River’ the title track from the band’s latest release. Will speaks of writing it walking down the Thames in London alone, and the room erupts with applause as the first couple of lines commence. As the rest of the band join in the sound is vast and so much bigger than on record, which is only a good thing in a live environment.

To put an end to an incredible set The Smith Street Band end with mini anthem ‘Young Drunk’, appropriate considering The Lexington was the first Pub they ever went to in the UK. Thankful they don’t mess about with an encore, as it’s impossible to move because of all their friends blocking the backstage door, the final ‘woahs’ of ‘Young Drunk’ resound throughout the venue, the final crowd surfers absorb back into the crowd and The Smith Street Band leave the stage to a appreciative send off from the spectators; who shortly after disperse back into the bar of the Lexington to begin the next part of their Saturday night.

Having just stepped of a plane, and definitely suffering jet lag, the Australian 4-piece gave London an incredible show and made it clear they felt extremely privileged to be there. Their set was everything a Smith Street show should be: full of good friends, good drinks and singalong’s. Tonight was a testament to the UK’s DIY scene, and the Southerners gave back to the band just as good a time they had seeing them play.