Random Hand – Camden Underworld

By Andy

The Road to Christmas is in full swing tonight. There?s cake, merriment and even people in the Underworld at a ridiculously early hour. What better reward for the revellers than a big bill crammed with talent? It?s a bill so big it?s taking two Punktastic writers to get through it. First up, Alex Hambleton passes judgement on the early entries. For the final three bands the baton is passed into the reliable hands of Mike Scott.

TYRANNOSAURUS ALAN is on too early for either writer. We may have missed the band?s early set but here?s a notice to you all: the band?s album, ?Campaign? (picked up tonight), is storming. It?s skacore with a wit and intelligence, and just a bloody big sound, and it?s very reminiscent of tonight?s headliner. This band will be followed closely next year.

BROKEN NOSE impressed last month and it?s more of the same. A cacophony of blends thrown into a vigorous and impacting live performance makes for seriously explosive stuff. This is the best genre-pillaging since Sonic Boom Six.[4/5]

Colchester?s ICH wastes exactly zero seconds in its bid to reach maximum punk parameters. Fast, hard, and heavy, the band is a flush with gnarly menace and a blur of dreadlocks on stage proving a matter of substance over style. [3.5/5]

DIRTY REVOLUTION closes out 2010 in style. Punktastic?s been all over the Cardiff outfit this year and tonight is more of the same. Soulful, chilled reggae tones juxtaposed with dance-along upbeat ska, revelling in passion and heartfelt approach. Dirty Revolution is a band to watch and relax to, subtle yet practically stirring. [4/5]

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MORAL DILEMMA may well have held the record for the earliest a band has played a show whilst being 5 bands up the bill. Playing to a local crowd they did well to carry the home soil banner ? plenty of people knew their stuff and they have come on leaps and bounds since the last time I caught them. They are a well oiled machine, mixing their older, trademark spikey old-school sound with a distorted Against Me! influence that really adds depth to their set. Playing with a smile on their faces and clearly grateful to be feeling the love, they looked like a band revelling in the kind of response they deserve after touring so long and perfecting themselves over the last couple of years [4/5]

The majority of people this evening were at the Underworld to catch another evening in the company of THE SKINTS. These days they look like a band that could play their set note perfect with their eyes closed and most of the externalities safely tied behind their backs and most of the recipients were here for a sing along rendition of most of ?Live.Breathe.Build.Believe? as opposed to a set of new material. The notable silence among the crowd standing at the back merely goes to show that the band don?t seem to be able to shake off that engrossing aurora that very few UK bands can pull off so effortlessly. It was, perhaps, a direct carbon copy of the last couple of times I?ve caught them, but still done with the same amount of passion. Plus everyone likes a catching reggae tune after a couple of overpriced Underworld beverages. [4/5]

Tour headliners RANDOM HAND are probably one of the few bands who would so easily shrug off the pressure of playing after a band like the Skints in their own hometown ? and it was curious to see some of the crowd happily file out the moment they finished, but that was their loss. Random Hand are just about untouchable in the tight set stakes ? and tonight was a nice mixture of the very old, the not so old and the brand spanking new ? as in a handful of tracks from upcoming record ?Seething is Believing?. They have that ability right now to be able to write an endless conveyor belt of catchy brass hook lines and gang choruses that reminds me a bit of Capdown circa-?Pound For The Sound? era. It seems like you?ve heard the new ones before. Bands do have to tread the line between creating something fresh and betraying their original sound that made you like them in the first place. And I was trying to think about what route they?ve gone down. But that doesn?t really matter when you play with the ferocity of tonight?s set. [4/5]