Another hideously early start to an evening at the Underworld, I arrived at 7.30 in time to catch most of Gecko’s set. Over the two weeks around Rebellion Festival, the venue has been putting on lots of punk shows one night after another. It’s a really cool idea, but I think this show was the victim of it’s only flaw: most of the people who want to see the bands playing Rebellion have gone there for the weekend, leaving this show with a very small crowd indeed. At one point Reb from Dirty Revolution said “Who’s going to Rebellion?!” to which not a single person in the crowd replied. “Oh,” she said, “I guess that’s why you’re all here.” Yup, hit the nail on the head with that one.
Despite the lack of numbers, it did get a little busier later in the evening, but Gecko had to play to a handful of us. I think I likened them to an indie-ska band last time I saw them, which may have been a little hasty of me. They are catchy poppy ska/reggae, something like Jack Johnson’s full band stuff, but more British. Which sits fine with me. They played some tunes which I was surprised to remember, even down to some of the wittier lyrics, proving how much these guys can stick in your head. This time they had a female vocalist as well, which added a little something. I am still at a loss as to why they finish on the song about Guanabana though, as I prefered the penultimate number. Perhaps they have a marketing deal with Rubicon…
The aforementioned Dirty Revolution came along to put a massive grin on my face next. I haven’t seen this band play in so long, I think the last time I was meant to was when they last came around with Jaya, but I ended up missing that show. They play ska-punk with a heavy reggae influence in places, and have funny, real, down-to-earth points to the songs. If you haven’t heard this band I suggest you get hold of the EP from Do The Dog, or go see them. They are just infectiously nice.
I was absolutely stoked to find, on a trip to the merch stall, that Mouthwash had been added to the bill. The Underworld website had said that The Skints were playing, but the only Skint in attendance appeared to be Josh so I don’t know what happened to that. I hadn’t seen Mouthwash in far too long either, and despite the levels of the synth rattling my brain a little, as one of my favourite bands after their recent ‘True Stories’ album, they just made this the best show I’ve been to in a long time.
Jaya The Cat took to the stage last for a short but sweet 45 minute set of reggae-punk with keyboards and distortion. Their whole attitude was summed up by their introduction of the song ‘Nightbus’ – “This song is about illicit drugs, and taking them, and then going home and dealing with the consequences.” Personally I could listen to their reggae stuff all night without the rock breaks they add in their songs, but the contrast makes for interesting listening. Rattling off such tunes as ‘Thankyou Reggae’, ‘Life Without Music’ and ‘Mistake’, the crowd got moving and singing along.
When a great band like this can play London and get a very small crowd, it illustrates how spoilt for choice we are for great shows in this city. But it was still a shame there was not a greater number of people in attendance to get shown how they do it on the continent.