Thursday, 20 October 2016

Live Review: Less Than Jake w/Mariachi El Bronx/The Skints/Kemuri/Weatherstate

I had the pleasure of shrugging off the Monday blues with a night at Bristol 02 Academy and a £10 date with the ska punk favourites Less Than Jake. Greeted at the door with a free shot of Fire Ball whiskey as a promo for the tour and a rather packed merch stand, I headed into the main hall of the venue.

Kicking off the night were Weatherstate [6], a band that are local to the music scene within Bristol. Getting the feel of good vibes my mind screams to immediately pin them as pop punk, like most bands in the UK scene. However, they seem to have a hand in a lot of paint pots, completely blowing expectations out of the water. They have a very lax stage presence which contradicts their sound, a mixture of a more punk rock InMe and Violent Delight with the slight raunchiness of a mid 90's Green Day chord progression. The only disappointment here was the lack of atmosphere with the nearing 10 person crowd that the 02 accommodated.

Next up was a rather strange but quite fantastic experience. For the first time I had experienced Japanese Ska punk and I can't say I was disappointed. From the moment Kemuri [8] entered the stage they emitted enthusiasm for life to match a Labrador on speed. They truly were the living embodiment of positive mental attitude. Their set was jam packed with fast paced brass sections getting everyone off of their feet, catchy tunes and energetic presence. The crowd interaction was a mixture of Fumio Ito encouraging the crowd to dance and spreading the message to love each other. If that's not a good time, I don't know what is.

Following up from the ever so happy Kemuri were The Skints [9]. The Skints over the years have built up a rather decent reputation through their work and it evidently showed through their live show. The East London four-piece take on a completely different vibe through the venue, slowing down the show completely for a few songs which truly show their reggae/ska roots. Throughout the set they showcase a lot of different genres within their music from grime, garage to ska and reggae as well as a set heavily packed with sweet female/male harmonies. The most notable highlight is to be their cover of the iconic "Ghost Town" by The Specials which effortlessly flowed straight into their own penning "Tazer Beam". Mariachi El Bronx had a lot to follow up on.

Mariachi El Bronx [7], alter egos to The Bronx, quite a difference from the get go let alone on this bill. Leaving the stage empty and the PA playing something that would be dubbed as western movie worthy El Bronx entered the stage after a minute in uniformity donning identical sharp looking traditional outfits. Within the first few seconds they completely entranced the crowd. From that moment onwards the crowd was a hazy mess of bad dancing and laughter the whole way through. After a while it was very clear that these guys were no gimmick, just straight up mariachi goodness. They had their technicality down to a T and never missed a beat.

With the crowd finally living up to it's sold out status Less Than Jake [9] took to the stage with smoke and music, Chris Demakes donning an obnoxious union jack suit, the full shebang. With the stage entrance alone everyone knew they were in for a good time. They wasted no time in kick starting the show with two tunes from their Pezcore album which seemed to set the running theme for the night. The setlist seemed to be compiled from 19 songs of their oldest material from the early 90's and early 00's, only one song from their 2013 album, giving the older generation of fans the nostalgia trip you can guarantee they were there for. Jamming out the hits such as "Look What Happened" and "The Science of Selling Yourself Short", the night run along without a hitch. Making the time to carry out their usual shenanigans of toilet paper guns, crude jokes and the occasional shout out to Fire Ball, the whole experience was truly a brass filled mess and I loved it.

Words and photos by: Stevie Swarts

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