After making the mistake of venturing over Tower Bridge which was tourist central, and suffering several nervous breakdowns and anti monarchy rants every time I saw some wanker carrying a union jack, I got my afternoon drink on in some unexpected sunshine before getting the bus up to the Trashbar in Stoke Newington to see some of the UK's finest ska punk bands.
The Trashbar is quite similar to a little place in Hastings called the Crypt. Dark, dingy, sound so loud tinnitus is a given, and ceilings so low that if you're over the height of 5'8" there's a good chance you will unintentionally give yourself concussion. However with £2.50 pints it's not to be dismissed instantly, even if it is in the arse end of nowhere (well, for me it was anyway). We missed the first band, the Bottlenex, but what I heard sounded good.
Next up were Upbeat Allstars who were pretty good, it was sometimes difficult to hear the vocal in the mix but they got a fair few heads moving, mine included! Then next up was South London band Skets. They were impossible not to take notice of, with a frontman who doesn't look dissimilar to Father Damien of Fucked Up, but also decked out in a vibrant Hawaiian shirt. They played a really good set consisting of fast paced ska that inevitably made your feet move, your beer get spilled and you didn't care. In a similar vein were Popes of Chillitown, a band who I'd sadly never heard of before the gig, but who made me dance in a way that few bands can, which at the time was the best thing ever. Many of their songs have a noticeable Sublime-esq quality to them but other tracks confuse you with a Balkan-like drumming to move your feet to. Anyway, as I said last night this bands seemed like the best thing on the planet, which I would like to think isn't just down to the Red Stripe flowing through my veins at this point. Definitely a band to catch live and I defy you not to dance like an idiot (playing Boomtown, if anyone's getting on it). The drummer was also wearing a Bacon Skateboards tshirt, which, I was reliably informed, makes them the best band of the evening, because no-one has one of those tshirts or really knows who they are. Or something.
Anyway, this wasn't a fashion parade and I don't really give a shit about skating meat-related t-shirts or their companies, so once I'd worked up an adequate sweat to Popes of Chillitown and spilled my beer all down myself, after a short break Random Hand took to the stage. The place was bloody packed out at this point and even if you weren't dancing you were pretty toasty. Nevertheless, nothing can stop me from dancing about to this band, and opening with Tales of Intervention from their latest LP they really didn't disappoint. They played a good mix of tracks from their 3 LPs. Highlights for me were Play Some Ska, Not a Number and Anger Management. I know they played more and I know I loved it all and danced till my feet hurt, but the whole thing was so brilliant as always it's difficult to pick highlights. Seriously, this band never disappoints me live and if you haven't seen them before you don't know what you're missing. One of the finest bands to come out of Yorkshire, always a joy to hear Northern tones in London, and another band that will be playing Boomtown.
Nice hangover today, bruises on my ankles and shins and a jacket that's still a bit damp from sweat. What more could you possibly want?!