The Living End @ The Forum, Kentish Town

This evening was a showcase of the old and the new, veteran aussie punk rockers The Living End headlining with a couple of young upstarts as support. Failsafe were the first of such support bands entertaining the early arrivals.

Failsafe were a complete surprise package, loud and fast alternative rockers who have plenty of cracking tunes. Their energetic performance was a joy to behold, plenty of impressive melodic guitars and high octane power chords. They were extremely engaging with a superb singer who was both a good vocalist and an energetic front man channelling raw rock spirit. Failsafe are a genuinely great band to see live, catch them while you can.

Succioperro had a tough act to follow but they also performed admirably. More melodic but less in your face, they seemed slightly static given their on stage predecessors. Still concentration on creating a huge sound of melodic rock worked wonders. They have a mix-mash of influences, all from the alt-rock genre with only Rage Against The Machine being immediately obvious from their sound. Catchy and epic in proportions their musical intensity was impressive. On any other night I’d be raving about these guys, but they were  shoved down the pecking order by the sheer lineup quality tonight.

From humble beginnings as a Stray Cats style Skiffle band, The Living End have become one of Australia’s premier rock bands without really breaking upon the UK shores. With age they have moved away from their punk rock roots and towards the mainstream rock arena. Tonight however they turned back the clocks for a punk rock riot potent enough to provoke madness in any mosh pit.

The first spark was of the show was struck with the first chords of Raise The Alarm, a rampant flaring of punk influenced rock and roller which set the mood for the night. The pace was hardly to relent all evening with a whole bunch of classic old school, bad attitude punk tunes such as Prisoner of Society, West End Riot, Whose Gonna Save Us each firing off a scramble for punkin’ dance space!

Almost as impressive as the punk attitude was their more mainstream tunes, each a testament to their maturity and skill as musicians. White Noise with it’s a huge rousing chorus was matched by the impeccable blues riffing guitar hooks showcased on How Do We Know. Guitarist Chris Cheney played his vintage Gibson all evening with power and emotionally charged vigour, wailing solo’s and quickfire picking highlighted a superb musician who is a cut above his punk peers. Their bassist was a bit of a show off at times, I mean it must be hard enough jumping around on stage with a whapping great double bass in tow…but playing it while it’s balanced on your head is just plain showboating!

For guys who release their debut album 10+ years ago they still play with a intense punk ethos which barely gave the crowd time to catch breath. Only drawbacks would be the material from the poppier album State of Emergency which brought these guys to the forefront of my musical radar. All round a cracking evening of rock spirit pumped loud and proud to the Kentish town masses!

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