Consumed/Müg/Maxwell's Dead/The Wonder - Live in London (Cover Artwork)
Staff Pick

Consumed / Müg / Maxwell's Dead / The Wonder

Live in London (2016)

live show

Reaffirming the permanency of their 2015 reformation, Consumed headlined a solid roster of punk acts at a free gig hosted at The Unicorn in Camden (London). The four opening groups played truncated 30-minute sets, while Consumed picked about an hour of stage time.

The evening’s entertainment was kicked off by DROPTHIS from the east of London. A speedy and aggressive melodic punk act sprinkled with hardcore elements. I could say these guys suffered from opening-band syndrome (crowd standing well away from the stage, biding their time, not drunk enough to get involved) but that would be a disservice to the quality of the music they put out. The lead vocalist couldn’t spend a second in one place on the stage, constantly in motion; while the bassist mostly stood in one place as if he had just woken up (he was, literally, in his pajamas and slippers). The difference in stage presence was definitely NOT due to timidity though, and the energy of the songs was enough to get the nascent crowd going.

The Wonder Beers, another London-area outfit, took the stage and jumped into action with a rousing set of anthem-ready pop-punk where each song focuses on the trials and tribulations of going (or trying to go) out and have a good time. Pete on guitar kept to the side to anchor the act as Charlie on bass claimed the stage as his own, only staying in front of the mic long enough to get some lyrics out before bouncing off again while Dan pounded on the drums with aplomb. Full of verve and gusto, this band features shared / dueling vocals between all three, and their music is chock full of sing-along choruses.

Travelling down all the way from Dundee, Scotland for a single gig, the boys in Maxwell’s Dead took the stage, grabbed hold, and never let go. Charismatic and friendly, focusing on fast-paced punk infused here and there with bouncing ska, the power and vigor of their set soon had the crowd in the palm of their hands. The drummer was the only member not traipsing around the stage, if only because he was stuck behind his kit. Finishing with the crowd-participation friendly ‘Gonna Find a Way,’ Maxwell’s Dead had the audience singing and clapping along, all while setting the bar even higher for the two remaining bands.

London’s own Müg had the privilege of being the penultimate act and keep the crowd riled up after the previous three successful acts. Not ready to disappoint, they came out full-bore with a solid 30 minutes of powerful punk, kept together by phenomenal drumming and a slick, clean bass line (which reminded me a lot of an early-80s hardcore style) which gave body to the music. Mark's guitar gave life to the songs with some solid riffs and chords, while the lead vocalist spent his time all over the tiny stage, full of exuberance and strength, giving voice to the music.

Having four wildly talented and successful acts before them, Consumed took the stage and immediately broke into what is arguably one of the best lead tracks on a punk album ever, ‘Sunny Side Up.’ By now the crowd was in a full lather. Featuring the Pistols At Dawn-era lineup, the years between Consumed’s hiatus/breakup in 2003 and today seem to not exist as the vigorous presence of Steve Ford, Wes Wasley and Will Burchell at the front of the stage- and the precise and powerful drumming of Chris Billam- prove that this band is back and better than ever. Playing such favorites as ‘Ready to Strike,’ ‘Brutal Tooth,’ ‘Lead the Way,’ and of course ‘Dear James,’ Consumed kept the crowd going until almost midnight, capping everything off with a cover of ‘Ace of Spades’ which sent the audience into a frenzy.

For a small venue, The Unicorn has an excellent sound system that really provided a solid punch regardless of whether or not you were in the front, back, or the bar. Rarely have I been to a gig that was this solid front-to-back. Each of these bands would be worth the price of admission on their own, let alone all five for free. I highly recommend you check them all out, buy some music if you feel the need, and DEFINITELY take the time to hit a gig if they are coming near your town.