Our special relationship with the U.S has afforded us a rich bounty in musical imports. Many of us will have spent our formative years engrossed in the sometimes raucous, and often melodic punk rock of Bad Religion, Pennywise, and No Use For A Name. And frankly, we were lucky to have lived through their glory days. But much like our political, and personal, relations our musical relationship with the States has left our necks craned to the west whilst the opposite direction held so much more.
Last night London’s New Cross Inn was privy to a masterclass in Punk Rock dealt out by several of the UKs most interesting prospects, headed up by Swedish punk legends No Fun At All.
No Fun At All’s legacy is apparent on both sides of the pond, in Europe the likes of Satanic Surfers, Antillectual, and Venerea all owe thanks to NFAA for the foundations they created in both melodic punk and skatepunk. And in America, a whole generation of punk bands show signs of influence in their high tempo and melodic punk; whilst the likes of Belvedere and Mute display the blistering, borderline metallic, guitar riffs that NFAA popularised so well on their ’95 debut No Straight Angles.
First on stage were London and Brighton skatepunks Fastfade whose charismatic energy and playful stage antics captured the crowd from the onset. The banner behind them reading No Fun At All seemed quite the juxtaposition when considering the crowds reaction. Their slick blend of Skatepunk and pop-punk is reminiscent of Captain Everything, Dear Landlord, and early Green Day. Keep an eye out for these in future.
After a short turn around The Burnt Tapes took the crowd by surprise with conscious, anthemic, punk in the vein of Signals Widwest, Arms Aloft, and Timeshares. Melodic guitars and punchy lyrics lured the crowd into singalongs. They rounded out their set with the rousing Things Get Weird; and as their amps fell silent echoes of the lyrics hung in the cold December air.
Quite frankly, the room wasn’t ready for Spoilers despite everything that came before their entrance. They’ve had a brilliant year which their singer and guitarist Dan acknowledged mid set. They have the confidence of a band that know exactly where they’re going. Think Flatliners guitars meets the lyrical styling of Consumed; this is one of the UKs finest punk rock exports of recent years, on par with Murderburgers. They even managed to get in a fast paced cover of Slade’s Merry Christmas Everybody.
DARKO, where do I start? DARKO supporting NFAA may come as some surprise to the casual attendee, but as previously noted NFAA’s sound has influenced generations of punk. Truly, few bands belong on this tour, DARKO belong in that small community that couldn’t be more perfect. The influence of the headliners is apparent in the driven, blistering riffs and purposeful lyricism. But the way they utilise punk as the foundation for greater exploration into the realms of technical guitar and drums is thrilling. They commanded the room from start to finish with real emotive energy.
Think the clinical accuracy of A Wilhelm Scream or Jet Market. It almost seemed too easy for them. A supreme talent, that whipped the room into a frenzy several times throughout their set and imprinted themselves in the memory of everyone in the room, and possibly a few passers-by on Clifton Rise.
Tonight a band, 20 years my senior, reminded me how out of shape I am. From start to finish No Fun At All not only commanded the entire room, they were relentless. The New Cross Inn would do well to christen that stage the No Fun At All stage, and in name it wouldn’t represent the show we saw tonight. A constant stream of crowd surfers accompanied by gang vocals from an expectant crowd proved, without a doubt, that the pioneers are still the masters. Churning out fan favourite after fan favourite with a seemingly endless set list, NFAA crushed this room. All of the tracks you would expect plus a few new ones from the 2018 release GRIT.
Opening the show with Believers, then heading straight into new song No Fun Intended. Strong And Smart and Wow And I Say Wowback to back mid-set sent the pit sideways spilling a few drinks in the process.
Rounding off their set with Out Of Bounds the sweat-soaked feral pit-dwellers yearned for more delightful chaos, and after calls for an encore NFAA obliged. Six more songs ensued until their brilliantly crafted set had to end with Master Celebrator.
By the end members of the crowd were stood on tables trying to get a better view of the carnage, several members of the crowd had hurriedly invaded the stage to join the band in gang vocals. When the lights came up, and the cold creeped in from the open doorway a thin veil of mist ascended from the heads and shoulders of the sweaty crowd. Until next time.
No Fun At All’s tour continues in The Hague tonight, and Osnabrück tomorrow. They play a handful of dates in Germany in late spring.
Live review by Thom Bentley and photography Pauline Di Silvestro of No Fun At All at New Cross Inn, London on 19th December.