So after moving in with Adam Bilboa from punk rock, it seemed only fitting that our second night out as roomies would be a show about 80 miles away… (Obviously the first was Satan’s Hollow)
We all hopped in the van; Leagues Apart, Jess and me trekking our way over to Derby (pronounce it Duh-by, it pisses them off), enticed by the incredible line up and the promise of road beers.
Any night involving tequila with hot tour managers, the cream of the UK punk scene and witnessing bouncer-on-chav violence can be nothing short of incredible.
Despite the gaping wound between bands and crowd, created by a four foot stage, the sound was immaculate for every band. Kicking off the night, Rooftops played a blinding last ever show. Even though I don’t like them as much as I should, I fully recognise how awesome they are/were, but for some reason it just doesn’t hit me right where it should. They are so incredibly tight, and packed full of soaring riffs, fantastic harmonies and intensely incredible drum fills, that I just feel awful for not being completely enamoured by them. I literally cannot wait to see what kind of punk rock phoenix rises from their ashes though; I imagine it will be incredible and self deprecating in equal measure.
Following on from Rooftops was Leagues Apart playing their set of anthemic punk rock smashers. I’ve seen these chaps play many a show; some good, some downright fucking atrocious. This was easily the best I have seen them, tighter than ever and bolstered by the incredible audio mixing. With a couple of songs I’m not incredibly familiar with (I can only assume that they are new-ish), they managed to blow me away in spite of the atrocious set at the Astpai gig last week. I do enjoy a well executed three pronged vocal attack, and when LA are on form they manage to destroy with hair trigger precision.
Pacer came next. I had high hopes for considering the fact they include former members of The Steal. They blew my mind. Intense and effecting melodic punk rock with lashings of hardcore influence. Imagine Dan Yemin on a steady diet of Lawrence Arms and happy thoughts, but, y’know, really REALLY fast. I mean, it’s guys from The Steal and they are releasing stuff on the dude from Bouncing Souls’ label, what more would you ever need to know? They were incredible, and I can’t wait for someone to book them near Manchester.
I have never seen Apologies, I Have None play a bad set, and tonight was no different. They play so hard, and with such a clear direction that anyone who might not know the words would be able to sing along. Their songs just seem to come from such an honest place. Since they made the switch from acoustic folk punk to incredible punk rock with a folky edge, the dynamic has shifted so dramatically. Whereas before, the lighter tracks (such as those on their Six Strings & Two Sticks release, available here for pay what you want) were sing-along gems, they are now grinding and wailing epics in which no “woah” is left unturned. They are literally in the top tier of British punk rock right now.
Headliners, Off with Their Heads were fantastic too, despite the fact that there was about a third of the people there tonight as there was at Santiago’s last year (you can read about that on my old endlessXbummer blog, if you feel so inclined). Ryan somehow manages to prance about in a vest (not a tank top, Jenny), talking about his “titties”, while still managing to eek out some of the most wrought emotion to hit punk rock in years. I don’t think there will ever be a point where I am not in love with this band. They didn’t play Call The Cops (even though I requested it a thousand times, if your drummer won’t learn the best songs I might have to say that he isn’t a keeper) or Die Young, but they did play a couple of tracks off of Hospitals, which I would probably say is my favourite, if not the categorical “best”, Off With Their Heads full length. A fitting end to a cracking line up, just an absolutely amazing show!
As we were loading out the Leagues Apart gear, there were lots of pretty girls and dudes in checked shirts (even more than inside the gig!). One dude got hoyed out by a bouncer, presumably for being completely wasted and inappropriate for life, and decided his best chance was to call the bouncers out until someone cracked him one on the jaw so hard he stayed lead on the ground for a clean 15, maybe even 20, minutes. Actually, just long enough for the 5-0 to arrive and do nothing of note except tell us to reverse. It all reminded me of being in Burnley, I managed to just about avoid the pangs of homesickness.
And now, it’s gone 5:30 and all the road beers, show beers, road back beers, and flat beers have taken their toll. I’m gonna stick on the Pacer 10” and fall the fuck asleep. I would go ahead and assume you are reading a heavily edited version of this because I am so beyond tired and drunk that this is probably all gibberish.
Big props to Derby DIY Collective for putting on a fucking ace line up. My first experience of Durrby was definitely a pleasant one. I even liked when I nipped out to the cash machine, I got to hear a bit of Sultan’s Of Swing by Dire Straits. Awesome.