This is an opportunity to give you a taste of not just the London punk scene, but the others I encounter on my copious travels around the world. You may or may not have noticed that I am currently in San Francisco, on what has proved to be the holiday of a lifetime.
When I get home I'll have the opportunity to reflect on the trip properly and really give you my impressions of the city, but for the meantime, let me tell you about a night which started with the immortal words, 'not going to have a big one tonight'. Needless to say it ended with a lift home and lots of giggling.
At the Pirates Press birthday party in November, the warm up show was at a club called Thee Parkside (nope not a typo), which I thought was amazing. A dirty little bar, with an outside courtyard and slices of orange in their Blue Moon beer, served in plastics. I sort of expected Bottom of the Hill to be similar, but after a short space of time was massively enamoured with the venue, (and this is before I even start talking about the music and the bare jokes of an evening that ensued).
The failures most venues have either revolve around their smoking facilities, their lack of opportunity to sit and have a chat, or the fact that you feel removed from the action. This place covered all of those and did it in style. Plus there's a window at the back of the stage so when you're outside smoking you can see the drummer. Like I said; enamoured.
We were there to see a band called The Re-volts, who are on Pirates Press Records. If you like your punk music melodic, passionate, really well played and intelligent, not just in the lyrics, but also in the music, I recommend you check them out. Plus they have the added advantage of being possibly the best looking band I've ever seen in person. I kid you not.
Gigs are always prime locations for some epic conversations, and this one was no exception. From great tales of punk days gone by in San Francisco, to hilarious anecdotes containing not just our friends, but also our acquaintences, it was definitely a night of good banter. There were drunk guys passed out in their seats, and me climbing a metal staircase to put a Skunx Tattoo sticker on it after Jack Daniels number 5.
And to conclude, you know you've seen a Californian ska band when the entire set, aside from the cover of The Clash's Revolution Rock as an encore, was in Spanish. And the crowd knew every word.