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The Great Wreck ‘n’ Roll Circus

at: The Coronet, Elephant & Castle

September 30th, 2009 · post by tommy · Make a comment

Date of the event: 26/09/2009

Its not often that gigs advertised on large posters appeal to me, but then again it can’t be often that you see Citizen Fish directly below the Fun Lovin’ Criminals on such a poster, I should’ve known straight away that The Great Wreck ‘n’ Roll Circus was going to be anything but an ordinary night.

Having grown up in South East London, I remember the Coronet when it was a run-down cinema, before it shut for multi-million pound re-developments at the end of the last millenium, and I must say, it’s previous condition much more strongly resembled the conditions I usually find myself watching bands such as The Short Bus Window Lickers, Moral Dilemma or The Inner Terrestrials. This was my first experience with the re-opened Coronet, it felt like I was in a fairly high brow theatre, which was not what I expected.

Now, this has obvious advantages, the sound on the main stage, for example, was absolutely spot on, filling the room without being too over bearing. However, such a venue has it’s drawbacks, approaching £5 for a pint is far too much, and with an abundance of punks in such a building, it just felt a little weird.

Well, anyway, on to the music, the reason why anyone was there in the first place. The first band I caught properly were Moral Dilemma, whom I haven’t seen in a while and have really grown as a band. Their new album is significantly better than the first and they don’t dissapoint live. The trademark axegrind guitar sound complimented by some impressive soloing paints an impressive landscape to house the passionately traded vocals, effortlessly at home on such a large stage.

Next I caught a Hip Hop duo on the top floor stage, but wasn’t able to catch their name. They were impressive, though I lack any real expertise in their genre, anything that induces a rhythmic motion of a body part is good in my book, and in this case the ferocious head nodding signalled my approval.

Next up, at around 11.15 were joint headliners Fun Lovin’ Criminals, and I still don’t fully understand why they were on this bill. I mean, it’s not that I didn’t enjoy them, they were great, but, on paper at least, they just didn’t fit. Turns out booking them was a stroke of genius. They had a crowd divided equally between people there especially to see them and people who were just a little curious, such as myself. Before long the FLC had both sets of people eating out of their hands. By the end of their set I realised that I knew many more of their songs than I previously thought I did. They’d sculpted me into a fan out of seemingly unmalleable clay.

As I said before, It being a theatre has numerous advantages, one being the seats at the top. I found myself resting for a little while after the Fun Lovin’ Criminals, whilst I was waiting for The Inner Terrestrials.

The Inner Terrestrials have been playing for years. They were veterans of the the scene when I first got into punk rock, which was quite a few years ago now, but they are as vital as ever. They blur the lines between punk and ska but are anything but a ska punk band. They played a number of their ‘hits’ including Barry Horne and Enter The Dragon and got the punx moving in a way that only they can. I’ve seen them quite a few times now, but I don’t think I’ll ever tire.

Next up, after a horribly long wait, were the band I was there to see above all others, The Asian Dub Foundation. As they were hitting the stage I realised how absurd it was that I had never seen them before, though they aren’t a band that play live all that often I was shocked I hadn’t previously made more of an effort.

Drawing heavily from 2008’s Punkara, they played loudly, tightly, and with a sense of empassioned precision that had the whole (rather large) crowd dancing. Rarely do bands ever get it so right as the ADF do. Their politics are a little wishy-washy for me at times, but they communicate them with grace, and their sound needs little description, somewhere between dancehall bangra and punk rock, with a hefty dose of dub and electro thrown into the mix. One of the best live band I’ve seen all year.

After that, I was done. The Asian Dub Foundation weren’t going to be topped and it was approaching 4am. I left feeling extremely pleased with the night I’d just had, the line up was perfectly varied and there was always something exciting going on, it’s a shame I wasn’t able to stay to watch Citizen Fish, but they were on just a little too late.

The Great Wreck ‘n’ Roll Circus was a fundraiser for a blockade preventing old growth deforestation in the Upper Florentine Forest, Tasmania for more information see ‘The Story of the Upper Florentine Blockade‘ for more information.

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