Route 215 – Leeds Josephs Well

By paul

Somewhere along the line, Route 215 got good. No, scratch that. Route 215 have got very good. For a long time you could chuck those cheeky Cockney monkeys in with the myriad of other pop-ska bands that cluttered the scene, taking cheeky swipes at Snuff while mixing it up with the poppiest of pop-punk. But now they’ve had enough, recruited more members and recorded an album which is certain to break them into the UK big leagues. Now they’re getting off their collective arses and out into the UK’s toilet venues to warm up for the impending album release. And boy are they good.

Tonight at Leeds’ Joseph’s Well, Gameface have come to town and there’s a healthy swell of punters who have come to the venue in anticipation. There’s also another throng in the bar put off by the ΒΆΕ“8 on-the-door charge, a bit steep really but I’m sure the promoters have their reasons. Luckily I’m well looked after by the 215 chaps who smuggle me in on the list and I’m extremely glad (and grateful) they did. With two new guitarists to bolster their sound, and Matt from Fastlane standing in on bass, the stage is filled with five blokes going off like their punk rock lives depend on it. Although Rod’s tragic “accident”, which left him with severed tendons in his hand, was certainly tragic it could come as a blessing in disguise. The switch to vocals-only has left him like a small kid in a sweet shop as he prowls around the stage bouncing off the other members. Infact in full flow the band are a sweaty mess, with drummer Nick holding the fort behind his kit.

The set tonight is made up almost entirely of new songs – so much so that ‘Stuck With You’ is a noticeable absentee from the setlist. But what we do get are fast pop-punk songs that demand attention. Newies ‘Amy’ and ‘GT Turbo’ sound fantastic, while ‘Echo’ is a surefire hit in waiting. As simple as choruses come, but it has that stick in your mind mentality that is as frustrating as it is enjoyable. But it’s the set closer (complete with a two-fingered salute and diatribe to a certain bunch of elitists) ‘Steal Your Soul (With Rock and Roll)’ which really does hammer home that Route 215 are onto something.

They’re touring up and down the country this summer in support of various bands and they’re even playing PB3 in June. If you’ve seen the boys before as a three-piece, you’ll be knocked out at just how good they are as a quintet. Oh, and if anyone wonders why I missed reviewing the classy Otherwise and Gameface, I was propping up the bar. Or was the bar propping up me… (8)