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State Radio

at: King's College


May 26th, 2008 · post by jas · Make a comment

Date of the event: 20/05/08

It’s 9.30 at the weird venue that is King’s College. I can’t shake the feeling we are on the fourth floor, and someone has just pulled the blinds back and revealed it’s still light outside. The smoke machines are making it feel like a school disco, an image shattered only by the people wandering back and forth with pints of beer. The crowd’s probably a little different from the one they played to on the weekend at Give It A Name – there’s no pretension here, just a bunch of hippies and students looking for a good night out.

After a short break seemingly filled with reggae and Irish punk, eventually State Radio’s Chadwick Stokes stumbles on with his two bandmates. It’s been a while since they graced a London stage, and the last time was with Rx Bandits. This band isn’t too far from the Bandits, and there are even more similarities as they announce donation boxes on the merch table for Myanmar and China. Stokes’ blonde Embree-a-like hairdo makes the parallel even easier to draw.

The set is a walk through their two full-lengths, and the politics don’t end with the between-songs banter. The first couple of tracks are heavier offerings like ‘Guantanamo’, before they finally turn up the reverb and get down to some reggae on track three with ‘People To People’. It’s followed by the slightly Bob Dylan-esque ‘Wicker Plane’, and ‘Good Graces’ which gets a raucous reception.

The drummer plays hard through the heavier breakdowns, but it’s their reggae stuff that really gets me going. Tunes like ‘CIA’ and ‘Sudan’ get the crowd moving, and beginning their final encore with ‘Fall of the American Empire’ is inspired.

After 90 minutes and two encores, the band still manages to jam throughout final track, ‘Mr Larkin’ before retiring and leaving the crowd with an air of satisfaction.

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