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Do The Dog 12th Birthday, mark II

at: Rhythm Factory

June 8th, 2008 · post by jas · Make a comment

Date of the event: 07/06/08

SkaNights runs a monthly gig/club at the Rhythm Factory on the first Saturday every month (saying it between every band really did make me remember it!). Last month was the Do The Dog birthday bash, and this month is… the Do The Dog birthday bash. I’m not complaining, the label has so many new bands at the moment they could probably keep doing these birthday bashes every month until the end of the year.

Kicking off proceedings tonight is Drewvis. I was expecting one man and his guitar, but I am greeted with two – he’s brought a bassist. It’s kind of like a less geeky, electric version of the Flying Marrows. It’s all clean-cut fun, as I’ve come to expect from Brighton with the likes of Pog. The addition of bass is daring without a drummer to instil some discipline, but really brings something to the performance with adventurous funky lines.

Dirty Revolution is up next and a lot of people seem to creep forward to enjoy them. It’s a new song second, switching between snarling angry punker stuff to funky mellow twangs effortlessly, as seems to be their speciality. They pull off a good solid performance of their EP, and with the heavy drop into ‘Police’ people begin to move. There are a bunch of new songs as well, mixing things up and highlighting Reb and Stu’s highly complimentary vocals.

Next was Robb Blake. Although I knew he was the frontman of ska-punkers Whitmore (transporting me back to my schooldays and Scuzz) I hadn’t heard any of his stuff before, but apparently he has an album out on Do The Dog. I wasn’t really into Whitmore back in the day, except for the track ‘Sober Days’ which I still like a lot. Most of the crowd seemed to be wondering why he was on the bill above Dirty Revolution, as everyone crept back to their seats. Robb played guitar and sang over a backing track that kept skipping at the beginning, not the best start to a set. It was rock’n’roll with gruff vocals and some ska breaks. The songs were thoughtfully constructed but it definitely seemed strange to go from a full band to one guy playing along with his iPod. One person’s suggestion that “it’s like if Jack Black auditioned for The Wedding Singer” also seemed to ring a little too true.

Suddenly the room packed out before New Town Kings, and everyone started dancing as soon as the eight members hit the stage in their pork pie hat and suit uniforms. During a fun set including a ‘Monkey Man’ cover they got a lot of singalongs to the ‘woahs’ and a lot of people seemed to be really into their stuff. A heaving mass of sweaty bodies was left on the dancefloor after the set, luckily they had a while to compose themselves before Rebelation.

Despite it being relatively late for a gig (past 11pm) before Rebelation graced the stage, there was no sign of fatigue and they played until almost 12.30am. One of the first things that struck me about this band the first time I saw them all those years ago, and something I still love to see about them now, is they look so happy throughout whenever they play. They smiled their way through old favourites and new, from ‘Politrics’ to ‘Reggae Woman’. They even stuck in a brand new track debuted on this recent tour, ‘A Week’s A Long Time In Politics’, which is about London’s recent mayoral election and seemed to strike a chord at the Rhythm Factory. The dancing was a little less sweaty for this set as the crowd had thinned out, but those that were left still had the energy to move for every song, especially Robb Blake who could be seen letting his hair down at the front.

After the bands were done, a bunch of people stuck around and a load of new people seemed to appear. DJs including Sonix of NASIN fame spun the reggae, 2-tone, first wave, dub and even a bit of drum and bass until 4am when the sun began to rise and people stumbled home. With people from all ages and walks of life, I think SkaNights have a really diverse audience compared with most promoters in London, making their nights a completely different experience from the norm.

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