Words and Photos: Antony Roberts
Arriving at Concorde 2 it was a seriously, seriously hot day. Brighton seafront was rammed with daytrippers and parking was somewhat fraught with difficulty. After finally finding a parking place I arrived late and had missed the first support band. For those who haven’t been to the Concorde 2 it was previously a victorian tearoom built in the 1800’s directly facing the seafront. What this means with all the windows is it acts like a giant greenhouse and summer gigs can get ohhh so hot. It’s like going to a gig in a greenhouse that has been, well, in the sun all day. Second support band Mouthwash had split up a month before this tour was taking place, and so they had been replaced. Boston’s “Have Nots” filled the space more than competently. Taking the basic Clash punk sound and mixing it with a more modern day ska vibe, there was hints of operation ivy on their more bouncy tunes, and definite elements of social distortion in the more shouty parts. I’m surprised they were playing a third support slot, I can see these guys gaining a larger following as word spreads.
Next up was Yorkshire’s Random Hand. By the time they took to the stage the Concorde 2 had filled up and with more people came more heat. It was absolutely sweltering inside, security had opened up emergency exits to try and get some kind of draft going but it was pretty futile. Singer Robin joked around in his friendly northern accent that they were not coping with the heat as it doesn’t get hot where they’re from, before apologising and going topless. Heat or no heat the UK road veterans put on a performance, if this was them not coping, i’d love to see them at 100% as they ran around the stage thrashin, skankin, and pogoing continually. They have taken the step with ska that many had previously not ventured. Yes they have the bouncy sing along tracks but they also go the opposite end of the scale and have tracks like “The Right Reasons” that have more in common with 90’s NY hardcore. Perhaps this is why they have proved so popular and gained such a following adding the heavier more hardcore vibe to an already wide spread of influences. Breaching the divide between audience and stage Robin was happy to come down to sing away from the barriers and warned the crowd to get water and air whilst they had chance before it went mental for capdown. Finishing with Anger Management as they kicked into the heavier section “who, who, you gotta pick up the pieces” the pit was erupting heavily enough to make the entire floor bounce up and down. If all other live bands put in just 10% of the effort these guys do, every gig with every band would be a joy to go to. Energetic, and amazing stuff.
obligatory black and white hardcore crowd shot
Capdown took to the stage and by this point the Concorde 2 had become an airless, oppressive oven. Shooting photos was a nightmare, steamed up lenses, steamed up glasses, and sweat pouring off my nose and beard all over my bodies and lenses. Not that you’d be able to tell watching the audience who were going mental at Capdown’s first Brighton show since their 2007 split.
The full back catalogue was poured through, stand out tracks being “Ska Wars”, “Faith No More” and “Home Is Where The Start Is”.
Singer Jake midset pointed out they’d already given the audience punk, hardcore, ska and dancehall, perhaps it was time for a bit of Hip Hop before launching into “Bitches and Nike Shoes” giving the audience a much needed lull to gather some breath to the softer tones.
Chatting again between songs Jake asked people to raise hands if they’d seen the band before. “Twice?” he asked and a few hands went down but most hands stayed up. This continued, 3 times, 4, 5 till it got up to 11 times and there were 3 guys singled out still with hands in the air. “okay everyone clear a space around these guys, i hope you’re not about to let yourselves down” before erupting into the next song. They weren’t given space for long as the audience piled in and crowd surfers started pouring over everyone’s heads.
After the final song Capdown took quite some time to come back out for the encore. When they finally made it out Jake jokingly explained the delay to the audience “1/2 to 3/4 of the band did not want to come back out to this heat”, and I seriously can’t blame them. It was a furnace, like Hell itself, even the walls were sweating. But they did come back out and they finished an amazing set saying they are “not sure how long this reunion is going to go on for, but it sure is fun at the moment”. These legends of British DIY ska punk sure know how to put on a live show, I’d suggest you look through our listings and go see them whilst they are back together. There’s lots more dates coming up in the year, who knows how much longer we’ll have the privilege to see this reunion, only time will tell.
Big thanks to Ian at Hidden Talent Booking and to the awesome Buzz at Punker Bunker, legend!