4Ft Fingers and Whimore co-headline show at Nottingham's The Maze really begs the question: What year is it?
Kicking things off was Liam O'Kane who crammed as many acoustic punk based drinking songs into his set as possible with some backing vocals coming from the back of the room before being joined by Whitmore singer Robb Blake for a song off their split EP. Everyone was put in good spirits early on.
Up next was The Rutherfords, a three-piece Nottingham pop-punk band. The band's sound is accessible but not too poppy, they manage to find a good balance between punk and pop. They managed to play around 15 songs in their half-hour set including covers of classic Ramones AND Girls Aloud songs. That is range.
Nottingham-based ska-punk band Gone and Lost It are one of the most impressive bands from the region. Their sound is fast and brutal, with enough ska influence to remain catchy and dancey. Their presence on stage is huge and the songs stick in your head even on first listen. This is a band that is going to go places.
After this it was time for the first of the co-headliners: Whitmore. Known for their catchy punk songs with some ska influence and the odd hit they had back in the early 00s, they certainly managed to excite everyone in attendance. Despite lead singer Robb seeming exhausted, the band still managed to knock out all the expected singles, including of course "Alison" which went over great with the crowd. The banter between songs was on form, helped by the majority of the crowd being drunk and nostalgic. Their set was longer than expected, playing for the better part of an hour and sounding absolutely spot on.
By the time 4Ft Fingers started, the crowd was already in a great mood. Especially with the people down the front, dancing around with bar stalls and running into each other. They kicked off with "Brickwall" and went through song after song, stopping only to crack a few jokes in between. They had a few hiccups, including a snare drum breaking, but these were quickly remedied and the crowd was too happy to care. Songs like "Last Man Standing", a classic punk song from the turn of the millennium, and ska-twinged "Hopeless Romantic" got big singalong and dance-along receptions. The highlight, though, was Whitmore joining them on the Maze's tiny stage for a rendition of "Sense of Direction" ending with singer Rob proclaiming, "I didn't even realise we'd swapped drummers!"
The set felt slightly short, but this could be mostly due to Whitmore playing for longer. Ending with "Emergency Maneuvre" it was clear that the band had had a great time. Let's hope they start touring more frequently. After all these years they've still got it, but the quality of the overall lineup definitely made this show one to remember.