Sonic Boom Six – Camden Dingwalls

By paul

Sonic Boom Six
Sunday 11 April 2010
Barfly, Camden
Support: Knock-Out + Dirty Revolution

48 hours ago, Punktastic was expecting to write a review of Sonic Boom Six?s first headline tour or the year. Sadly, too many reviews lately have had to mention sub-par venue sound and another such piece would have been one ear-ache too many. Congratulations to that particular pub in Milton Keynes; you have reached the sludgy depths of sound-mutilating venues. So, with a slight delay, Punktastic has arrived at a very sweaty Barfly which, despite the horribly uncomfortable mugginess, at least sounds good. And to top that off, it?s sold out in advance.

Opening the evening is Cardiff reggae/ska mob and SB6 labelmates, DIRTY REVOLUTION. The quartet has come on leaps and bounds over the past couple of years and tonight, just ahead of the release of debut album, ?Before the Fire?, everything seems to fit nicely into place. There?re enough up tempo numbers to whet the appetite of the hardcore revellers at the front. There?re enough moments of soulful precision to grab the attention of those at the back. And it?s all done with an even mix of old and new material. Enjoyable stuff.

KNOCK-OUT returns to these shores for the first time since February last year, and is quite simply fun to watch. The Riverside, California quartet (guitarist Danny Soto has been added to the line-up since last time out) comes across almost as Sublime-esque, mixing in soulful reggae vibes with a more out-and-out punk rock approach. For the moments that are heavier a pit opens in the crowd (quite the response), adding further to the sweat dripping walls. For the chilled numbers there?s a fair old amount of swaying and grooving. Other dates on this tour have been and will be quieter for the band, but tonight Camden treats Knock-Out as anything but strangers. Good showing.

So begins a new era for SONIC BOOM SIX, and we?re not talking headwear here. With guitarist Ben Childs having departed last October, new recruit, and former Myth of Unity man, Jimmy T. Boom (I?m assured this is his real name) has been added to the fold. The opening bars of ?Polished Chrome?? roll through the room and we?re off on another musical jaunt with Manchester?s finest.

Tonight?s set has been constructed to ease you into the new Boom era. The heavy focus on last year?s ?City of Thieves? album of previous tours has been lifted with the band electing to dip a little further back (?Arcade Perfect? is well represented ahead of it?s impending US release and the band?s tour there next month, and ?The Rape of Punk To Come? even gets an airing). But it?s the really new stuff that the band is excited for. Two new songs are aired, both of which have a quintessentially SB6 air to them, only there?re a few telling electronic dabs there.

On stage it?s fair to say that the band is having fun. It?s true that maybe a few too many beers and not quite enough Pot Noodles have been consumed during the course of the day, and things are a little, shall we say, loose. Some bright spark has forgotten to lower the backdrop prior to the set. Bassist Barney Boom gets carried away in the moment and forgets his lyrics. It seems such a long time ago since we got to see Laila K reprimand the bassist, yet that used to be part of the everyday fun, and tonight she?s laying out the tongue lashings, much to the crowd?s delight. And then the band reverts to old tactics and drops in a cheeky cover (this time it?s Puretone?s ?Addicted to Bass? that gets the spiced up SB6 treatment). You see, fun.

By the time the encore pairing of ?Rum Little Scallywag? and ?Bigger Than Punk Rock? have finished the band looks shot. The crowd, of which there appear to be a fair few new faces (that?ll be that Reel Big Fish tour then), looks shot. The venue looks shot, and smells a little funky too. But everybody leaves with a smile on their face. That?s not bad going for a Sunday night. And that?s not bad going for a band that appears to have tackled another stumbling block and is looking forward to the future.

Alex Hambleton