Six Point Five – Milton Keynes Bowl

By paul

A note to all the bold promoters and to each and every gig-goer out there: putting together a ?mixed bag? bill isn?t necessarily a recipe for disaster. Sure, it?s a risk, but putting a collective of varying performers on the stage gives so much more room for enjoyment, not to mention crowd-pulling. Tonight is a mixed bill, and it?s a mixed bill that really works.

Opening with a D&B set isn?t your everyday occurrence in everybody?s favourite roundabout infested ?city?, but tonight there?s a dance floor rampant with punters paying mucho attention to PDEX, a one man DJ wrecking crew relentlessly busting out heart-pounding and body thumping tunes. Strip away the fact that Monsieur Pdex is related to Enter Shikari, and you still have an act every bit adept enough to bring the party to the spectator sans smoke machine and glow-sticks. Not your ordinary Punktastic fare by a long shot but well worth checking out if you?re into dancing your way to a good time. (3.5/5)

Before the band even takes to the stage ARMS OF ATLAS has pedigree. Formed from members of FreeFallFelix, Centauri and tonight?s headliner you?d be forgiven for thinking you?re about to experience some kind of ska supergroup. Instead, the quintet puts out a set that is as much post-hardcore as it is pop-rock. For a young band everything is oh so very streamlined, from the matching uniform (jeans, black shirt anyone?) to the crowd interaction, everything is executed perfectly. It?s not groundbreaking but it is effective. A cover of Limp Bizkit?s ?Break Stuff? (a tour treat that sees members of Exit Avenue lend a hand) is probably wasted on a crowd that resembles a schoolyard on heat but proves somewhat of a guilty pleasure for those that can remember 1999. (3.5)

If you?re looking for a band that has really started to grow into its shoes, to really start to fulfil potential you?d do well to check out EXIT AVENUE. Sure, the band is as full of pop as you could possibly imagine (again, not your standard Punktastic fare) but on the evidence of this tour it?s hard to fault what has become every bit a well oiled and slick machine. With a set built up of two parts cheesy pop-punk and one part electro goodness (and not a synth in sight), the quartet is as enjoyable a Friday night as you?re likely to find. Whether it?s the ?Soulja Boy?, ?Fresh Prince? and ?Heaven? (you know, the Bryan Adams track; okay, the DJ Sammy song) covers or the bands own brand of glow-stick enticing power-pop, the fact is that the crowd is going off, a blur of frenzied, daft dancing and even a dose of rather suspect moshing. Serious cheese: seriously good times. (5)

With the support owning the room it sometimes pays to be a hometown band. SIX POINT FIVE, the MK sextet that may or may not be done for good after this, is fortunate that a shed load of those packed into this converted sports hall have come to support the cause. Having been born from the shadow of Capdown, arguably the city?s best export, it?s refreshing to see the band emerge as not just another wannabee. If anything the outfit?s brand of skacore is more akin to that of the now defunct Howards Alias, blending just the right portions of brass and hard guitars. Subsequently, any suspected skanking from the crowd is replaced by a full on mosh-pit and a dubious attempt at a human pyramid. It?s jovial to see the crowd react to a band that is again extremely polished on stage. If this in fact the last hurrah for MK?s other ska band then the crowd ensures it?s a triumphant one. It all makes for a decent finish to a show that has proved not only surprising but attractively variant. (4)

Alex Hambleton