I think the Eastpak Antidote tour has made its away around some areas of the globe, and recently it stopped for a few days in the U.K. It's the first time the Vans-sponsored (aaah, corporate!) tour has made it over here, and having been impressed by the recent compilation released to coincide, I decided to check it out at the Charing Cross Astoria.
First up were the Unseen, who peddle old-school street punk with lyrics about standing up for yourself and railing against the man, etc. etc. They fared pretty well, many of their songs catchy enough to warrant attention from the audience that made it to the show early. The singer made a considerable effort to get the crowd involved and songs like "So Sick of You" and "You Can Never Go Home" sounded pretty sweet. They were even joined by Strike Anywhere's guitarist as well; it seems he can never get enough of railing against the man.
Sweden's garage-punkers Randy were next up and despite all wearing fetching skeleton costumes, they didn't have quite the same energy as the Unseen. They talk about being anarchists and have a few nice Ramones-esque tunes, but their songs soon blend into each other and it becomes easy to lose a bit of interest. Still, at least they dressed up for the occasion.
I felt obligated to go and buy a pint o'Guinness to prepare myself for the appearance of the mighty Flogging Molly. Sure, it has been said that most of their songs are pretty much the same, but fuck it, seeing this band live is just like having one big drunken Irish party. Dave King is frequently funny and the sort of bloke you'd want to get shitfaced with, even if he could probably outdrink me 10 to 1. "Drunken Lullabies," "Screaming At a Wailing Wall," and "What's Left of the Flag" are the sort of songs that could get any crowd going, and they delivered emphatically tonight. It also became clear that this was the band most came to witness, as a mini-exodus took place once they departed the stage.
I had never seen Millencolin before and had heard that they were more often than not sloppy in a live environment. They opened with the trio of "Kemp," "Fox," and "Man or Mouse," and while it should've had an impact, it just seemed to have completely the opposite effect. Eventually, they did get going and people started to get into it a lot more. Leaning pretty heavily towards Pennybridge Pioneers through Kingwood stuff, most of the songs were anthemic enough to ensure there wasn't anybody merely standing around. I have to admit I enjoyed when they dipped into the earlier stuff more -- "Lozin Must," "Bullion," and "Mr Clean" all still sounded great and reminded me of how much skatepunk meant to me, despite its numerous critics. It might sound lame, but Millencolin are pretty much veterans at this point whose quality doesn't appear to be fading. They didn't fire on all cylinders tonight, but there'll be better shows, and here's hoping they continue to be one of the genre's best bands. In case you're interested, other stuff they played included "Fingers Crossed," "Penguins and Polarbears," "Ray," "Shut You Out," "The Ballad," "Cash or Clash," "Pepper," "Mooseman's Jukebox," "Blackeye," "Farewell My Hell," and of course "No Cigar."