Ska-Punk. Some love it, some hate it (The same people who also hate laughter, fun and corn on the cob – Down With The Trumpets Editor). I, for one, love it. There’s nothing wrong with jumping about in a sweaty pit to trumpets. However, it has been a while since I’ve heard some new Ska-Punk that has gotten me really excited. Until I found The Interrupters. Going to both London dates of a tour seems a bit much to some, but I am so glad i did it.
Night one, the L.A band had sold out the O2 Forum in Kentish Town. I rock up at about 8:30pm (thanks trains) and walk straight through the doors and push my way forward to the main stalls. My first impression, “wow, this place is packed“. My second impression, “wow, most people here are older than my dad“. I stood relatively close to the front, beer in hand and bopped about to the sounds of The Skints for about half an hour. They were okay, but not brilliant. A little bit slow for the main support act of an upbeat, fast paced headliner such as The Interrupters perhaps?
Then the lights turned down low, the music stopped and all hell broke loose in the best kind of way. ‘Ghost Town’ by The Specials came through the speakers as the band took their places before breaking into ‘A Friend Like Me‘ – the pit opened and I was in the middle of it, loving every second.
The same euphoria was felt on the Balcony for night two. Everyone was out of their seats, jumping around, loving life. For me, at least, being able to enjoy both nights equally, despite two wildly different views and spaces, is a sign of an excellent live band. The Interrupters did not disappoint. Usually being one to be thrown about in the pit, I was a bit hesitant on buying balcony tickets for the second night, yet ended up thoroughly enjoying myself, despite being slightly out of my comfort zone, so far away from the action.
On night one, there were two defining moments for me, ‘Title Holder‘ and ‘Take Back The Power‘. Played back to back, these songs took me away from the fact I was hot and thirsty, into an entirely different space. I don’t think I have ever been in such a united group of strangers as when were shoulder to shoulder shouting about how its time to give power back to the people, and never let the metaphorical “them” break you down.
On both nights, a couple of absolutely class covers were played, ‘Bad Guy‘ by Billie Eilish, and ‘A Message to You Rudy‘ by Dandy Livingstone. Any self respecting fan of Ska-Punk will at least know the latter due to The Specials’ version, and anyone who hasn’t had their head in the sand the past six months will at least know The Interrupters do an absolutely blinding cover of ‘Bad Guy’. These were fun, and performed well. Night Two, however, the set list was mixed up a bit, adding a cover of ‘Sound System‘ by Operation Ivy. This might have been my highlight of the second night, I cant say I was surprised that an Operation Ivy cover was thrown in, or the bass solo from Rancid’s ‘Maxwell Murder’, considering these guys have been taken under Tim Armstrong’s wing, pretty much since they started.
A circle pit started brewing in the middle of the crowd as ‘On A Turntable‘ was introduced, it was loud, it was fast-paced, and it was cathartic. That perfectly sums up the whole two experiences really; Catharsis.
With so many songs about family, unity and hope, it was hard to not leave the venue with a big, bright smile on your face. Even with the prospect of a three hour train ride home looming over me. These guys were tight, and the chemistry just flew off of them.Twenty-two songs in an hour and a a half is certainly not bad going, and enough to keep anyone happy. Particularly when they were so well performed.
Overall, both nights weren’t too different from each other, experience-wise. It was good, pure fun, something I realised I had missed the recent shows I’ve attended. No theatrics, no scripting, just a band doing what they love, to an audience that loves it. It has been a while since I’ve been to a live show that’s gotten me really excited to go back. On the train home on the Friday, I couldn’t wait to get back on that train to Charing Cross and do it all again on Saturday. These gigs felt special, like I was witnessing the start of something huge. It’s so very exciting.