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.
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.