Tuesday, 19 October 2010

No Age, Male Bonding & Abe Vigoda – XOYO, London. 14/10/2010

Four reasons as to why I was excited about this show: The first being it was my first time at East London’s latest hipster club/venue, XOYO, and ticking off new venues one’s attended is always fun, right? No? Just me then... Well in that case I better swiftly get on with the other three reasons and that was simply Abe Vigoda, London’s very own Male Bonding and headline act, No Age. Unsurprisingly, a bill as consistent as that meant the night was sold out and the packed crowd were getting stuck in to the loudness and intensity of all three bands from the start.

Despite initially thinking that Male Bonding were the opening act I was surprised to see Californian Tropicana punks Abe Vigoda take to the stage first (that will be the last time I’ll ever use the word ‘Tropicana’ to describe a band, I promise). They played a set that focused more towards their latest offering ‘Crush’, with some older tracks to boot. For an opening act I have to give kudos to the sound guys at XOYO for making their performance sound bang on.

Male Bonding have always had their hardcore followers but this performance showed that the Dalston trio have come on leaps and bounds in terms of popularity, not only in London but across the Atlantic as well. They launched straight into ‘All Things This Way’ and continued the next 30 minutes with hits from this year’s outstanding debut LP ‘Nothing Hurts’. It has been a pleasure to see this band improve with each performance over the past year, with this show being apparently the loudest to play at the venue to date, even surpassing tonight’s headliners, No Age. The sardine like moshing atmosphere showed that Male Bonding could probably headline a show to a crowd of this size without their being any awkwardness.

No Age was, of course, the final act, closing their mammoth world tour with Sub Pop label mates Male Bonding. The chaos amongst the crowd began as soon as the Los Angeles duo (trio in terms of the night’s live performance) took to the stage. Beginning with a massive build up into ‘Life Prowler’, which coincidently is the opener on this year’s stunning ‘Everything in Between’ LP. Even at this stage the crowd were bouncing around in sync to Dean Spunt’s drum pounding and scrawling vocal. They then followed this intro track with ‘Nouns’ ‘Teen Creeps’, which received a raucous reaction. The carnage amongst the London punk kidz didn’t stop throughout an intense set that was dominated with tracks from ‘Everything in Between’. Being located by the steps on the side of the stage it was refreshing to get a decent view of the crowd going crazy, as well as the band.

From a musical perspective No Age seemed to drift in and out of consistency in the tempo of this performance and you could tell that some of the slower cuts like ‘Valley Hump Crush’ and ‘Chem Trails’ vocally sounded a bit off key, in a not so deliberate way. Not that the majority of the spectators cared one bit, and in all honesty that barely lowered my opinion of the gig but if I was to make one negative point that would be it.

If I was to single out one particular highlight it would be linked to a week that had been dominated by the news story involving the heroic rescue of the 33 Chilean miners. Spunt and Randy Randell climaxed their set fittingly with ‘Miner’, added with Spunt’s continuous chanting of “We’re all fucking alive!” and constant stage diving featuring the band themselves made it a really epic moment at a pretty intense gig.

Words: Freddy Rothman

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