It turns out that my university has a little society called ‘Punksoc’, where people sit around, talk about punk and go to a lot of shows. The idea of this intrigued me, being a fan of such things, so I signed up right away. Monday was the first gig social, and we went to nearby town Leamington Spa to see North Lincoln at Robbin’s Well.
There were three awesome things about this particular gig. The first was that it was an actual basement show. Sort of. The Well has a downstairs area for gigs which is pretty much like a basement in that everyone crowds around the band who are playing on exactly the same level as you. This is probably the closest I’ll ever get to experiencing something like that, so it’s totally a basement show. The second was that it was North Lincoln’s last tour, and we got to see them in such a small and intimate environment. I will admit, I’d never heard of North Lincoln before (I really should follow record labels more considering they’re on No Idea) or any of the other four bands on the lineup, which brings me to the third awesome point – five bands for a mere £5. I am fed up of paying ridiculous prices for gigs. In January, I’m seeing Henry Rollins, and paying £22 a ticket for the privilege. It’s just not punk rock any more. So five for £5 is pretty damn good, even if the drinks were fairly expensive.
First band up were Caves, a fairly melodic punk band from Bristol. We came in late and missed about half of their set, but from what I could tell, they were pretty good. Nothing particularly original, except that their lead, female singer had an exceptionally gruff voice for a girl. Not a bad thing at all.
Second on were Big City Plan, hailing from Birmingham. It’s difficult to compare them to anything else, but I seemed to think that they were like a less hardcore No Trigger with rougher vocals, which is still pretty awesome. These guys were one of my favourite acts that night, with their tuneful, energetic songs receiving a great reception. Really good fun, and their song ‘Paint The Town Rad’ is a must listen. They’re also playing again soon, and I’ll definitely be seeing them again.
Next up was James Black, a folk punk artist from London. Now, I like folk punk, and I like it a lot, but every song here sounded exactly the same, both lyrically and musically, and not in a good way. I found him to be fairly bland and he didn’t really fit with the rest of the line up. Folk punk is tricky to get right, and you don’t need to shout all the time to do it. It also wasn’t too interesting to watch, even though I’ve found someone with nothing but a guitar to be compelling in the past. Personally, I’d give this guy a miss.
The Amistad, a relatively local band, were on next. The Amistad have this real charm about them, probably because they talk lots in between songs and are genuinely quite funny. The songs are good too. Very catchy, with the potential to become real anthems. They probably didn’t sound as good as they could, due to the vocalist having taken over bass duties and not really being able to play it. He managed pretty well though! Great energetic punk rock and one I’ll definitely be looking out for.
Finally, North Lincoln took the floor. I really have only one word to describe their set – amazing. They had a really laidback approach, and knew that they were having fun, which in turn meant we were having fun with some awesome music. Their gruff punk anthems filled the basement well, playing really old stuff as well as the last few songs they wrote. Everybody in the crowd was there for the same reason – to see North Lincoln – which sounds like a strange and obvious remark, but too often, I go to gigs and see people there because they were dragged there with friends, or because they wanted to see the support, or because it’s something to do, and it made for an incredible experience. All I can say is that it’s a shame North Lincoln won’t be touring again, because their wonderfully melodic punk needs to be heard live to be truly appreciated.