Datsuns @ Dingwalls

The Datsuns & Free Fall @ DIngwalls, 13th February 2013

Surprisingly it was the first time we’d been to Dingwalls, the venue hidden within Camden market a stone’s throw from the lock and its associated party places. Once inside, it’s a fine setting, with a multi-tiered seating area views were excellent whilst being small enough to remain very intimate to all but the furthest onlooker.

Up as we wandered in Free Fall, the side project of “The Soundtrack of Our Lives” guitarist Mattias Bärjed (who has clearly had enough of mid tempo pop-rock on tonight’s showing), were powering up their amps. Once they begun striking their strings it was immediately obvious these guys worshiped in the church of Page & Plant at the altar of Black Sabbath. Mixing the euphoria of classic rock guitars with heaving blues of zep and Sabbath they managed to craft a sound which was both familiar and at the same time, their own. Vocals were classic Robert plant, powerful and eclectic with howling wails backing the bold and meandering melodies. Another band trying to be zep? Yes…at this they succeeded emphatically! Their nagging choruses were still ringing in my ears as the headliners strutted on stage.

Free Fall

Bias alert! Ever since The Datsuns self-titled debut record hit my ears way back when, I have been totally in awe of their guitar driven garage rock. Many years have passed since that release earned the New Zealand boys proclamation from NME as the best new band in town, some of us have not forgotten. Armed with a sackful of classic blues melodies and frenetic air-guitar anthems I’m ashamed to admit this is the first time I’ve been able to get down to one of their London shows, this one in support of their 5th release, 2012’s Death Rattle Boogie.

The Datsuns

Songs from this corking album dominated the early set, adding in more psychedelic side trips alongside their trademark riff fuelled thrust. Early highlights included the fuzzed up Bullseye, thunderous bass melee of Skull Full Of Bones and the bearer of scorching ‘ riff of the year 2012’ Gold Halo. The small crowd were buzzing as the on-stage energy of the band reflected in a small chaotic pit of over excited rockers. The number of crowd surfer’s be-lied the limited numbers holding them up, obvious casualties and painful drops ensued! Still for that little pocket of mayhem, nothing mattered beyond exuberantly letting the music snare them into the mouth of garage guitar nirvana.

Song after song of incredible melodies were piled sky high by the reigning riff kings, The Emperor’s New Clothes, Sittin’ Pretty, Maximum Heartbreak, MF From Hell and their well known favourite Harmonic Generator. Yet their set was closed out with one of their most revered and rawkus offerings, Freeze Sucker which combines their firecracker blues, frantic vocals and huge melodies with an extended mellow passage and inevitable return crescendo which pushed the crowd above and beyond boiling.

It was such a great show to finally be a part of, an amazing band with a catalogue of awesome rock anthems. Just surprising they are still haven’t graduated above venues of this capacity, still all the better for me!

Rancid @ HMV Forum, Kentish Town

Rancid @ The HMV Forum, 14th December 2012

After being shipped up to Newcastle last minute, I had a rather longer journey to the Kentish Town forum than originally anticipated (hence lack of decent pics). 5 hours later we nestled in to catch the latter half of the forefathers of Oi!, Cock Sparrer, which without a cockney accent should not be spoken aloud in public places. Especially not by Americans over booming PA systems, ‘Cock Spa..rer’ is just wrong in many ways (bad images).

Despite their advancing years and progression in their genre to more Americanised angles, Cock Sparrer have lost nothing which would have attracted their loyal fan base from their 70’s & 80’s heydays. Straight forward three chord punk with gang harmonies, lyrical themes of the anti-establishment and of good ol’ blighty (see “England Belongs To Me“), each with nagging choruses most modern chart toppers would die for. Professional and exuberant, they have lost none of their spirit as their rejuvenation continues, now with Rancid’s backing a whole new audience is being won over, all over again.

Cock Sparrer

Whilst Tim Armstrong is the mastermind, founder and talented vocalist who steers the Rancid ship on its ever upward course up the punk hierarchy, he also sports a pretty awesome beard! He was the lifeblood of the crew, bouncing about stage slinging his guitar so low it almost reached his bootstraps he epitomized their carefree attitude and high energy punk rock. Short and sharp, blink and you’ll miss them anthems sparked some serious crowd antics from front to the back.


Jumping around their discography they picked out their most energetic and catchiest melodies from their career, each song being met with rounds of crowd rapture before the bouncing started. The pinnacles were their set rounding effort sing-a-long classic Ruby Soho, plus hot foot hoppin’ Fall Back Down and of course the ska, skate-punk mashup, Time Bomb. The sheer amount of material showcased is testament to their no-nonsense, all killer no filler ethos which has brought them so much success. On tonight’s high octane outing, there is no slowing down the rancid train.