“Punk N Roll Rendevous” @ The Unicorn, Camden

7th March 2015

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Quintet The Filth and the Fury (4/5) open up tonight’s “Punk n Roll Rendevous” with a total bang. The Sex Pistols tribute/covers band exuberantly pounce into their set with enough energy to get the slightly sparse audience moving and singing along. The old school punks are out in full force this evening; the amount of tartan, useless zips, gnarly studs and spikes, band patches on denim and hair that could take your eye out make you feel surprisingly comforted. If the hardcore punks are out, tonight’s line up is set to be a stonker.

TFATF storm through all the classics you’d want to hear. Front man James Hosie not only looks remarkably like a stretched out Sid Vicious, he sounds near identical to the legendary vocalist. Hyped up on Red Bull and with a typically punk slogan t shirt on (“Hard work never killed anyone but why risk it?”), he pulls faces, throws himself about on stage and interacts with the crowd, radiating with positivity which makes him extremely likeable. The crowd respond accordingly and whoop and cheer after each hit, having thrown themselves about in true punk fashion in appreciation. The atmosphere is an upbeat, fun times kind of vibe and it is hard not to smile and bounce about! Their DIY Union Jack banner, draped over the front of the stage as opposed to hung at the back, even reeks of punk attitude. Chatting with front man James Josie reveals some endearing facts about the kick ass group; three years since their inception and they earn money from it, which is often unheard of for a covers act, this stems from their undying passion for music, and they used to rehearse in a bungalow that was inhabited by a three legged cat. Long live punk!

Full of beans threesome The Slurps (4/5) are a contradiction; you’d be forgiven for mistaking the middle aged, old school punks for has-beens who may need a little rest in between each song, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. With their flavour of goodtime, upbeat punk with catchy hooks and riffs, they are positively oozing with addictive appeal. The audience, enthralled by their performance, are as still as statues whilst they thrash it out but you realise just how popular they are with this crowd when they burst into a tirade of appreciative noise in between each number. The bass lines are thick with groove, the vocals, which are shared with both bassist and guitarist, are tight and strong, and their stage presence is undeniably insatiable. An all round solid act.

Youthful outfit Kerosene Queen (3/5) deliver a refreshing brand of post punk/electronic hardcore reminiscent of Enter Shikari on occasion but with tonnes more energy. They are not the tightest band to play tonight, but they are by no means the worst. They also stand out somewhat from the rest of the line up but this is not a bad thing either. The audience are lapping it up; the stage presence, the digital keyboard splashings, and the catchy riffs create a great atmosphere and prepare and warm up the crowd quite nicely for headliners, the Healthy Junkies (2/5).

Now, there has been an energetic buzz regarding Healthy Junkies tonight. It appears they have a very diverse and widespread fan base, Nina the front woman being the main reason for this, evidently. Underwhelmed is not the word. Nina was flat throughout the gig (I’m not sure several pints of lager before a gig are a good idea for a vocalist to indulge in), the material was underdeveloped, unimaginative and became repetitive after a couple of numbers, and the front woman writhed around on stage like a super tortured Courtney Love, which was actually one of the highlights of their physical performance and stage presence, however her generic pop, lacking-in-soul vocals for someone who is also predominantly a grunge singer, did not match up to the “I am soooo damaged and I still dress like a 16 year old to solidify this” routine she so persistently indulged in. They are a forgettable band and it feels as though Nina is the only reason their following is so large (she’s a pretty little thing, you see). It almost feels as though the band was thrown together for reasons other than making good quality music.

Fortunately, all of the support acts were superb tonight, it was just a huge shame the head liners chose bands to fill the bill that completely shoved them into the shadows. Talk about having your thunder stolen three times over!

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