Mustard Plug – Camden Underworld

By paul

Friday 16 April 2010
Underworld, Camden
Support: Mouthwash // Dirty Revolution // Beat The Red Light

?I didn?t know we had 33 people in this band,? quips Mustard Plug frontman Dave Kirchgessner. Just two songs into the set and there?s a stage invasion. Just two songs! It?s going to be a theme, and whilst I?m sure there?s an ?audience know your place? rant somewhere here, let?s take it (as the band does) for what it is; a bunch of people having fun on a Friday night. Hell, Kirchgessner told Punktastic only last month: ?We started the band basically to play party music for punk rockers and that’s pretty much what you can expect from a Mustard Plug show.? Sorted.

BEAT THE RED LIGHT is exactly the sort of band you want opening a Friday evening show. Any humdrum working week blues are blasted away in a cacophony of noise, energy and brashness. Very much a proponent of the ?throw as much noise at the wall and see what sticks? school of thought, the High Wycombe eight-piece (talk about your compact stages) is chaotic, funnelling a four strong ska brass section into a thrash metal template. It?s punk. It?s metal. It?s ska. It shouldn?t work. Yet, it does. It really does, and for 20 or so minutes it?s high octane, impressively noisy, rough-around-the-edges stuff.

It?s an altogether different (read: less noisy) approach for DIRTY REVOLUTION, making a second visit to the capital this week, whose set is packed tight with sauntering reggae vibes, upbeat socio-political messages and a rascal like feistiness. Tonight?s set isn?t all that different from Sunday?s Barfly performance, throwing together new album songs (?Church?; ?Sometimes You?re Too Rude?) with redux versions of previous EP tracks (?I Love Reggae?; ?50p?; ?Failure To Communicate?), although we do get a new song with almost a calypso feel (somebody find the steel drums, please). It?s another decent outing for a band that is really moving in leaps and bounds.

Last night, MOUTHWASH played in Glasgow. Tonight it?s London. That?s a hefty drive for sure, but you wouldn?t know it from a performance that is anything but languid. The South London band is as tight as it has been all year (Punktastic has been bumping into these guys a lot in 2010), and at the risk of sounding like a broken record, is really shaping-up to being London?s best kept secret. Maybe that current slot on The King Blues tour will adjust that, whilst a potential new album this year isn?t going to harm.

And so to MUSTARD PLUG and that party music. From the off the Michigan sextet is having fun, although avoiding drunken, attention seeking nuisances probably isn?t all that fun. Yet the band takes it in stride, with Kirchgessner seemingly lapping up the worship of the front few rows. He offers a faux-perplexed nod to his new ?band mates? here and there. It?s pretty much a ?greatest hits? set, to the delight of a respectably filled room (a relief from the emptiness at doors), with the band pumping out ska-punk tune after ska-punk tune. Big power chords, big choruses, lots of singing along.

In truth it?s an expectedly very slick performance but that means it also lacks a certain amount of spontaneity. To be honest though, it?s exactly what you expect before show time. Beer sloshing as the band plays the likes of ?Brain On Ska? and ?Real Rat Bastard? (accompanied by Dirty Revolution?s Reb Sutton) is what the crowd paid for, and that?s what they get. The one new track played, ?Aye Aye Aye? (a free download if you?re interested) doesn?t smear the blueprint, sounding as though it?s been in the set forever. It?s all a bit cyclical, but when fun is the aim of the game you really can?t complain. Mustard Plug isn?t about changing the world after all.

So the end of the night (pre-encore of course) comes in the form of ?Beer (Song)? which actually has the exact same impact as the Reel Big Fish song of the same name (sort of). It?s a drinker?s anthem and it?s treated as such. As the band leaves the stage one by one the crowd adopts a ?Whoa Whoa Oh? chant that puts any usual ?Encore? chant to shame. It lasts all the way until the band take up one last song. And then it?s done and the crowd leaves gleeful and smiling. Job done, Mustard Plug. 18 « years of party music continues.