Live: OK Pilot – Robbin’s Well Leamington Spa, 24/11/10

NB: I apologise for the shitty photo editing – my computer decided to be slow and didn’t like Photoshop, so I had to make do with Photobucket’s online tools. Whatever, it’s totally punk rock and DIY.

Tuesday is clearly not a good time to put on a gig. For a start, I had to wait half an hour for the bus as it didn’t show up. When I finally got there, as I wandered down the stairs to the basement part of Robbins Well, I saw Punksoc, people from bands and well… not many other people. A few of Kourosh’s (vocalist of Heads Will Roll) friends, who were clearly not into this kind of thing, appeared, looking more than a little bewildered. The basement show is a little more impressive when there’s more than thirty people in the room, but still, there’s always something exciting about tiny, intimate shows. We just had to make sure we crowded right round at the front.

There were just three bands playing tonight (which was advantageous for me as it meant not missing any buses), which could have also contributed to the relatively small audience. We all moved forwards so it looked like there were more of us, and Heads Will Roll took the stage.

For the first band on, this was a little intense. HWR play awesome metal-influenced hardcore, and as was stated on the Facebook events page for the gig, it really is ‘the music of nightmares’; Kourosh’s deep growls are completely unexpected and wonderfully terrifying. Despite a slight bass problem at the beginning of the set, the band played fantastically. The lack of audience was perhaps an advantage for Kourosh, who roamed through the audience and provided some much required energy to the room. Plus songs about bikes are always good and their drummer has one hell of an awesome beard. At the end of their set, I watched curiously while Kourosh’s friends left with slightly perturbed glances to each other. That’s the mark of good hardcore.

Next up were Company L, hailing from South London.

I’m told that these guys are the new project of Mike Scott, who used to be in Phinius Gage and should therefore be good. Unfortunately, I suck when it comes to knowing the British scene these days and therefore had no idea who either Phinius Gage, Mike Scott or this band that were about to be on were, so I nodded and decided to form my own opinion. Fortunately, it was a very good one, because Company L are just great. Awesome melodic punk with an edge and just generally pretty sweet. I’d hardly call Mike Scott an enigmatic frontman, but there’s something about him that’s just cool. They played a fantastic set, and I’d definitely go see them again. Also, kudos to their new guitarist Hannah, as it was only her third show with the band and played fantastically – a real inspiration to girl guitarists everywhere!

It soon came to headliners OK Pilot. I was pretty excited about this, being the only band I’ve seen recently that I’d actually heard of before the night.

I was not disappointed in the slightest, as they were absolutely incredible. I’ve always loved the back and forth between both vocalists, and this dynamic works extremely well live. OK Pilot are anything but static live, and despite the restricted space, threw themselves into the set and played pretty much non-stop, giving a energetic and exciting performance. If you’re in the area next time they’re on, I highly recommend that you check them out.

So in conclusion, Tuesdays might not be the best night to put on a gig, but that’s probably the best Tuesday night I’ve had in a long time.

Live: North Lincoln – Robbin’s Well Leamington Spa, 12/10/09

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.