The Old Fire Station, Bournemouth
On a muggy Wednesday evening I arrive early to catch the 2 supports for ska/punks finest Less Than Jake. Enter on stage the somewhat youthful two-piece that is The Bots. Brothers Mikaiah and Anaiah take to the stage with minimal fuss before opening their set in a slightly nervous manner. We can forgive them this at the tender ages of 18 and 15 respectively! What they deliver is a mash-up of styles but I wouldn’t want to liken them to any one band. There will be the obvious White Stripes comparison but they are a band with power and ability over confidence.
Two songs in, Mikaiah (lead/vox) removes his headgear and automatically gains in confidence,talking to the crowd whilst covering every inch of the stage. To this reviewer there’s elements of Hendrix, but drummer Anaiah takes the plaudits with his power and hand speed as he thrashes his kit almost throughout. For their last song Mikaiah places his guitar on the floor before jumping into the crowd to harmonise among us. Its a move that brings smiles all round-including Mikaiah’s. They leave to generous applause which they gratefully accept.
The Skints are up next and are greeted by a near capacity crowd. They open with a song called “Bright Girl” and this crowd start to sway. Their brand of reggae/dub/ska/rocksteady is not lost on this audience and they seem totally at ease onstage. Their sound and delivery is both confident and “clean” – one can hear every instrument. And in Josh (guitar) they have a rabble-rousers intent on keeping us moving. Jamie (drums/vox) takes on most vocal duties but is ably assisted by Marcia (keys/sax/flute/vox). Jon (bass) just looks on, swaying in time. “Telly” is a highlight as is “Lay You Down”. The Skints just look like a band set for bigger stages-impeccably attired and comfortable on stage. The highlight though for me,and many others in the room I’m sure; is when the band cover Dawn Penn’s “No No No” – it’s now that we really get to hear Marcia’s pitch perfect voice which doesn’t disappoint. They end with the excellent “Can’t Take” and leave to rapturous applause. Josh wholeheartedly gives thanks to this crowd imploring us to come and see them again on the next tour. I’m sure many in this room will oblige.
Not long after Less Than Jake arrive onstage, they are greeted by a huge mosh pit which go wild. They open with some of their more well known numbers including crowd favourite “All My Friends are Metalhead’s” and “Gainsville Rock City”. On this, their 20th anniversary tour, its like a Less Than Jake best of set tonight with one or two less familiar songs thrown in for good measure. To me ‘Big Crash’ is a highlight, but as with The Skints there are no weak tracks. “Gainsville Rock City” stays in familiar territory as does “Ghosts of You and Me”. The heat in the room is rising and Chris (vox/guitar) tells a punter to “lose the hoodie, it’s nearly 40 degrees in here”!
Like most bands of this genre, humour and banter is a given. He also pinpoints a certain female in the crowd to invite to the after show at the Anvil club just over the road, she obviously gratefully agrees. Chris decides to inform us how he researches the towns he’s visiting on the tour, and to highlight something about said town. We are informed Bournemouth has the least number of sexually transmitted disease’s of any town in Britain-high praise indeed! Truthful or not it gets an almost embarrassed cheer.
Back to the show and the energy of band and crowd is rising. The bands take on “Spongebob Squarepants” theme tune, which offers up some more welcome humour, the crowd are lapping it up now. Its a good 5 or 6 years since Less Than Jake graced a stage in this town, you wouldn’t know it though. Unhindered by record company intrusion and distributing via their very own label “Sleep It Off Records”, the band are totally relaxed. This shows tonight, there’s no backdrop-just a couple of precisely placed emblem placards and a band comfortable on a “smaller” stage. Roger (bass) is as energetic as ever,complimented as always by brass section Buddy and JR. Buddy in particular is grinning like a Cheshire cat almost all night while swapping banter with the others. Vinnie (drums) is as powerful as ever with little fuss. They give us a rousing “Plastic Cup Politics” before ending with “Look What Happened”. The band leave stage and we think that’s it. However,with the crowd chanting for more and 9 minutes left before the 11pm curfew the band return once more. Those who left early miss a “bonus” two songs. All in all a triumphant return to the area of Ska/Punk’s leading lights. We look forward to their imminent return.
Lay You Down
Roam/No No No
Less Than Jake
All My Friends Are Metalheads
Gainsville Rock City
New Auld Lang Syne
Ghosts of You and Me
Rest Of My Life
Plastic Cup Politics
Look What Happened
Review & Pictures by Ross Ferrone.