Walking in part way through Dirty Revolution’s set was a schoolboy error--basically this female-fronted five-piece were obviously on fire given the number of people skanking themselves silly down in front of the stage. In fact, even from a vantage point near the back of the venue it seemed that most people, including myself, were either nodding their heads and/or shuffling their feet in some kind of way. This a quite remarkable thing for me to do given the fact that I’m extremely particular about my ska-punk but Dirty Revolution really managed to push their music forward in a grand way and as an additional bonus they’re quite keenly an anti-fascist band.
Next up were hometown heroes, Crazy Arm. Now I can’t remember the last time I saw these guys (and gal) play support to anyone but their truncated set, cut short even further due to technical difficulties before they even started, meant that they basically ripped through a set which was more based around their rockier songs. Never a band to let such things get in the way of their performance, opening with “Bandalito” and hammering through to the end with “Broken By The Wheel”, the Arm showed why they are one of, if not, the best bands in the U.K. today.
And finally, it was what the big crowd had turned out for: Capdown. Let me be clear from the start, I’ve always been slightly bemused as to why this band has been held in such high regard. Yes, they have some a good guitar sound, yes they’re another band with a conscience but beyond that I’m at a loss to explain their popularity as the whole package doesn’t really grab me.
Anyway, it doesn’t really matter what I think as this the crowd basically threw themselves into this performance, more perhaps than can be said for the band. Whilst at times it seemed they were going through the motions, down in front of the stage it was like a human tsunami as bodies were flying around in a whirl of excitement. It wasn’t just right down the front that such excitement was evident as it seemed the whole place was moving. In fact, I spent as much time watching the crowd as I did the band as the former seemed to be getting more enjoyment out of the proceedings than the latter.
Not being overly au fait with the songs of Capdown, I do know (from the handy stage side setlist) that they opened with “Unite To Progress” (which I thought was their best effort of the night), and also played “Ska Wars,” “A-Political” and “Strength In Numbers” amongst others. The fans loved Capdown’s ska-reggae-punk whilst I, willing to be won over it must be said (I stayed sober for the evening--a rarity when Crazy Arm is playing), was left rather cold from a performance which had an air of “by the numbers” to it. However, the crowd were exemplary in their involvement and it really showed that I was in the minority and that the majority really had a cracking time with sweaty bodies all over the place. So what do I know? Very little it would seem as, if this was to be Capdown’s final tour, as rumored, there will be a lot of people with happy memories of this gig.
Beyond the bands, it was really pleasing to see such a mix in the crowd, both of age groups but also male and females--I think this diversity helped create the buzz in the venue. Now if Capdown can do the reunion thing, why not Lightyear? Now that’s a band who can really nail that ska-punk down perfectly for my liking. Hell, throw in Adequate 7 and No Comply and it would be quite a party