The Skints – Camden Underworld

By paul

Rebel Alliance Tour
Saturday 30 January 2010
Underworld, Camden
Featuring: The Skints + Chris Murray and Friends + Mouthwash + Random Hand

Anticipation lingers over those braving the brutally cold Camden evening to queue up for this evening?s show. It?s an anticipation not usually reserved for such early doors at the Underworld, but tonight?s a little different. The Rebel Alliance Tour is in town, showcasing the exquisite talent aligned to the Sonic Boom Six managed label, Rebel Alliance Recordings, and with it comes a pot-luck rotation policy. Remember that Three Way Dance package tour back in 2004 where any band could end up headlining? Well that?s exactly what we?ve got here, which means anybody could open or close the show. Cue early birds hoping not to miss their particular favourite.

True to the game-of-chance methodology, the Yorkshire ska-metal behemoth that is RANDOM HAND kick starts the show just a few weeks since headlining this very venue. Such is the tight-knit camaraderie of the label, there?re no sour grapes, no feeling of being better than this. Instead it?s a lean 35 minute set that bangs out the likes of ?Scum Triumphant? and ?British? in full-on assault formation: heavy and fast. With this being drummer Joe Dimuantes? last tour of duty, the band is firing on all cylinders, a fact that is bore out by the fervent crowd reaction. Not a bad way to blow the cobwebs off the early evening.

MOUTHWASH may just be London?s best kept secret. Such plaudits come on the back of performances like this. The quintet manages to plug every inch of the Underworld with its gloomy, bass heavy, big-dirty sound, and still entice the horde to dance along to some jovial ska. It?s practically the same set as was performed back in October, but it doesn?t matter. With how good the likes of ?No Fear? and ?That Girl? sound, the band could play them every night for a year and you wouldn?t get tired. Even the sceptics should be turned this evening.

Recent RAR signing CHRIS MURRAY is quite simply sublime. The Canadian-cum-Los Angeleon?s brand of acoustic ska is joyful, relaxed and smile inducing. Quite the departure from that beforehand. Showcasing new record, ?Chris Murray and Friends? (the ?friends? part tonight is played by The Skints? Jamie Kyriakides and Jon Doyle) the set flows by with a terrific vibe and sing-alongs aplenty. Vintage Murray.

And so the long straw is drawn by debut Underworld headliner THE SKINTS. To say this is fitting is an understatement. A sell-out, top-billing performance at the Barfly back in November turned into the show of the year, but even that?s just a drop in the ocean compared to this. This is something special and you only have to look around to see that. There?re 400 or so people in the room, eyes intently watching as the East London quartet blazes through a set that?s two parts prime reggae to one part balls-out punk. Bodies grind to the likes of ?Culture Vulture? whilst limbs flail to ?Contemplations of the Modern Rudeboy?. The whole room bops to a cheekily included cover of Inner Circle?s ?Sweat? (jimmied into ?Roanna?s Song?). There?s even a beach ball doing the rounds. Party atmosphere? Yes, indeed. A gang chorus to ?Murderer? sees half of the London punk scene represented, before The Skints go and drop an altogether new song. A new song just two months after a new album! Things move quickly in The Skints? world. Tonight is evidence of that. A triumphant performance. A triumphant close to the show. Triumphant everything!

Alex Hambleton