The Interrupters Gave Us Everything At O2 Shepherd’s Bush Empire

It can only be a good day when The Interrupters come to town. The ska-punk four piece have made Shepherd’s Bush their only club date on their summer tour, and we’re more than glad to play host to this unusually intimate end-of tour show from the two-tone megastars.

The first beer flies across the buoyant crowd before opening number Gave You Everything even kicks in. It’s an easy victory with a crowd dedicated enough to holler out both leads to the song, but despite their long stretch across Europe, the Interrupters are giving this show their all. It’s not just their unrelenting energy that makes the Interrupters such a huge hit, though that must be a factor. There’s a genuine warmth between the band that passes beyond genetic obligation and reaches out to the crowd, enveloping us all. “I see so many friends here,” smiles guitarist Kevin Bivona as the bouncing, So-Cal ska beat of Friend Like Me thunders through the floor. Kevin drops in hype-up chants like an old-time radio announcer between sunshine solos as lead vocalist Aimee Interrupter flings her voice like a baseball. They never drop their pace between songs, keeping their trademark beat pumping as they slide into Titleholder and we throw our hands up through the symbolically uptempo chirping backing, letting our self-belief blossom in the hardening cement of the chorus. The constant message of every Interrupters song is that we as individuals have the power to triumph; Turntable, ‘another true story for you’ according to Aimee, is crammed with Bad Religion-style splintering guitar as they turn away from the gloss of their studio albums back to their street punk roots.

The Interrupters @ O2 Shepherd's Bush Empire, London - 2024.07.01

The Interrupters @ O2 Shepherd's Bush Empire, London - 2024.07.01
The Interrupters @ O2 Shepherd's Bush Empire, London - 2024.07.01

“We had this show booked for so long but we weren’t allowed to say anything until Slam Dunk was over….look at you, throwing caution to the wind!” Kevin laughs, before launching into the second-wave channelling Babylon. His twin brother, bassist Justin Bivona, pivots between crouching and leaping with his legs back, revealing his scarlet socks. Two-tone pioneer Rhoda Dakar joins them onstage for As We Live, skipping across the stage with Aimee as the two vocalists have genuine fun with their sound. Dakar grins, spreads her arms wide and tilts her head back, soaking in the crowd’s adoration. “Love is an action, start with yourself,” she sings and we sense that they practice what they preach, signing and sealing this message to us with every chord. Aimee runs to the front for Easy On Yourself and she’s almost lost in the forest of hands reaching up to take hers.

The Interrupters @ O2 Shepherd's Bush Empire, London - 2024.07.01

The Interrupters @ O2 Shepherd's Bush Empire, London - 2024.07.01
The Interrupters @ O2 Shepherd's Bush Empire, London - 2024.07.01

There’s much more to the Interrupters than peppy ska self-care. Let Em Go is the song that plays as you drive out of town, leaving the past behind forever and only burning shoebox of faded photographs in your wake. A brief pause, a slow chord, and Alien transforms the stage into a passionate demonstration of starlit faith. Aimee waves her hand, conducting her own feelings, as the mirrorball spins out of control. The lights fall, leaving Kevin and Amy crouched together on one side as he strums out the familiar, secret chords of Leonard Cohen’s Hallelujah. It’s beautiful and unexpected and everything you want as a mirror into the inside of your soul, every simple note sinking like a stonechat send ripples across the awe-struck crowd.

The Interrupters @ O2 Shepherd's Bush Empire, London - 2024.07.01

The Interrupters @ O2 Shepherd's Bush Empire, London - 2024.07.01
The Interrupters @ O2 Shepherd's Bush Empire, London - 2024.07.01

On the final stretch, the Interrupters pull no punches. Got Each Other, ‘a unity song about finding your family’, sees all three Bivona brothers taking on Rancid’s vocal parts. There’s a huge contrast in their  usual singing voices, but a beautiful sense that they’ve matured and taken the places of their former mentors. Fan favourite She Got Arrested is slowed down to maximise the fact it’s become the quintessential Interrupters song, with endless echoes, lowered harmonies and the power to send crowd surfers tumbling over the barriers like pebbles on a beach. “We need to come to London more often,” Aimee exclaims, bent over laughing at our reaction to the playful extension of our favourite lines. From the pure rousing rock of Take Back The Power, we’re propelled into Family, complete with terrible rhymes and a shared appreciation for the silliness in the now cult favourite track.

As we say bon voyage to the Interrupters at the end of their run of Europe’s festivals, it’s striking how much they’ve grown as a band since their debut a decade ago. Their endless positivity and high energy shows have earned them diehard fans wherever they play, and with an increasingly complex stack of songs in their collection, the Interrupters have now officially earned their stripes as modern ska’s leading lights.

  • The Interrupters @ O2 Shepherd's Bush Empire, London - 2024.07.01
  • The Interrupters @ O2 Shepherd's Bush Empire, London - 2024.07.01
  • The Interrupters @ O2 Shepherd's Bush Empire, London - 2024.07.01
  • The Interrupters @ O2 Shepherd's Bush Empire, London - 2024.07.01
  • The Interrupters @ O2 Shepherd's Bush Empire, London - 2024.07.01
  • The Interrupters @ O2 Shepherd's Bush Empire, London - 2024.07.01
  • The Interrupters @ O2 Shepherd's Bush Empire, London - 2024.07.01
  • The Interrupters @ O2 Shepherd's Bush Empire, London - 2024.07.01
  • The Interrupters @ O2 Shepherd's Bush Empire, London - 2024.07.01
  • The Interrupters @ O2 Shepherd's Bush Empire, London - 2024.07.01
  • The Interrupters @ O2 Shepherd's Bush Empire, London - 2024.07.01
  • Rhoda Dakar @ O2 Shepherd's Bush Empire, London - 2024.07.01
  • Rhoda Dakar @ O2 Shepherd's Bush Empire, London - 2024.07.01
  • Rhoda Dakar @ O2 Shepherd's Bush Empire, London - 2024.07.01
  • Rhoda Dakar @ O2 Shepherd's Bush Empire, London - 2024.07.01
  • The Interrupters @ O2 Shepherd's Bush Empire, London - 2024.07.01
  • Rhoda Dakar @ O2 Shepherd's Bush Empire, London - 2024.07.01
  • Rhoda Dakar @ O2 Shepherd's Bush Empire, London - 2024.07.01
  • Rhoda Dakar @ O2 Shepherd's Bush Empire, London - 2024.07.01

A review of The Interrupters live at O2 Shepherds Bush Empire on 1st July 2024. Words by Kate Allvey, photography by Pauline Di Silvestro.

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