Squirtgun – Camden Underworld

By paul

Sunday 26 July, 2009
Underworld, Camden
Support: Zatopeks + Company L

Another date at the Underworld and another band experiencing a resurgence, of sorts anyway. Midweek it was The Dickies and Vanilla Pod throwing their respective experience into the ring. Tonight it?s mid-90?s pop-punkers Squirtgun aiming a little higher than mere nostalgia.

It?s hard to judge a band that has played little more than a handful of shows together but as far at things go COMPANY L doesn?t come across as the wet-behind-the-ear inexperienced band. Sure, the South London quartet is far from the finished product but on this performance there?s a suggestion that it?s not going to take too long. A lot of this may be down to former Phinius Gage man Mike Scott spearheading the project. It seems the 18 months of solo work has rekindled a fire. Tonight?s set includes a couple of originals, beefed out versions of several Scott songs (?Back to the Drawing Board?, ?It?s Not Big and It?s Not Clever?) as well as Consumed and Phinius Gage covers. It?s punk rock for the sake of punk rock, harking back to the likes of Black Flag, and Pennywise. Not bad for a bunch of newbies. (2.5/5)

It?s incredibly difficult to imagine anybody, and I mean anybody, not enjoying the live spectacle that is the ZATOPEKS, oft described as ?Buddy Holly covering ?Rocket to Russia??. Sounds about right. Tonight?s set has each band member toothfully smiling along, and a crowd that is unashamedly enjoying this brand of pop-punk by way of rock ?n? roll. Frontman Will DeNiro can?t be confined to the stage, taking a three-song wander in the crowd that only manages to incite a few more sing-alongs. Thanks to a geographical splatter-gun approach to habitation, Zatopeks play sparingly on these shores (or any other for that matter) but if the chance arises it?s well worth checking out. Undoubtedly the performance of the night. (4)

Taking to the stage it?s one of those moments for SQUIRTGUN; popular in the nineties, tonight the quartet has what can at best be described as a moderate sized crowd (read barely bloody anyone). Not to be phased or perplexed, the Indiana outfit presents said crowd with a pop-punk set that divulges those Lookout! years and is relentless in its tempo, the only downtime coming when frontman Matt Hart stops to tune a guitar. All short, sharp splats of bubbly joy, it?s how this type of music should be played.

But, for as good a set as this is, and it is good, you can?t help but feel that things are just building up to the bands biggest hit, ?Social?. It?s one of those songs that would be easy for a band to grow wary of but is such a marvel of song-writing you can?t help but keep playing it. Before that we do get the likes of ?Please Be Mine? and ?Classics of Love? as well as Zatopeks guitarist (and PT forumite) Sebby taking up guest guitar duties, his grin the size of the Forth Bridge. All in all it?s a good showing from a band that has some decent songs and a good live ethic; it?s just not quite outstanding enough to warrant the response of, say The Dickies. Fair. A little more than middling. (3)

Alex Hambleton