We’ve been waiting for 16 years, but it’s finally here. Nineties UK skate-punk legends Consumed have chosen today to drop their EP Decade of No into our laps, after a long hiatus. Every chord, every note and every lyric is just as vibrant, exciting and relevant as their earlier releases and I’m supremely excited to celebrate the launch with them tonight.
The troopers at Anarchistic Undertones have organised tonight’s album release party at Aatma in Manchester, with a varied line up of supports in the form of Don Blake, Triple Sundae and Hoof. What better way to finish of your working week?
I’m gonna get straight out there are say it: I bloody love Hoof. They don’t seem to have the big furore around them that you occasionally get with DIY bands, but there’s an understated charm to them and what they play is just very, very good. They fall into the camp of 90’s EpiFat-era skate-punk (and I’d hazard a guess Consumed are a big influence on them), producing a sound that’s comfortingly familiar and exceptionally well executed.
In the interest of building anticipation, they break a string approximately five notes into the set, leading to a lengthy re-stringing break before the show’s even started. Fortunately these guys are the masters of off-hand stage banter, and at least it didn’t halt the set halfway through.
Back up and running again they rip through Epitaph and Petty Thieves, the title track from their relatively recent EP. It’s fast, hard punk rock with a strong grasp of melody and a tight technical edge, particularly on the snappy drum fills and odd twiddly riffs. They’re firmly in the class of bands incapable of playing less than breakneck speed, ideal for kicking off a show.
Hoof particularly excel in vocal harmonies that give their choruses a bit of flair. On Measure of Success there are some rougher shouted parts that work even better. They joke that they’re about to play a ‘newish song that’s three years old’ which only makes me think it’s time they treat us to some newer tunes.
Tonight is Triple Sundae’s first foray into the wilds of the North and, having enjoyed seeing in them in their hometown of London multiple times, I’m chuffed to have them playing my neck of the woods. They’re clearly excited to play, and it shows in the enthusiasm they lend to their performance. An injury to vocalist/guitarist Hassan Afaneh’s elbow has meant they’ve expanded from a 4-piece to a 5-piece for the evening, with Conor Yates from SKIV joining them on guitar. Nonetheless, they’re energetic on-stage at Conor smashes out the riffs perfectly.
They open with Indecisive and Soul Control from their recent Peace of Mind EP. I absolutely adore their little 3-track gem of a record, so it’s a great opportunity for a singalong live. Falling into a Menzingers-ish category of catchy indie-punk, they bring some magic to their sound with occasionally gruffer, caught-in-your-throat vocals and bouncier guitars. Many of their tracks feature infectiously catchy little breaks of pop that can take up residence in your head for days.
Triple Sundae are a band who put a lot of heart and soul into their songs, which makes them a joy to watch. My personal favourite is always going to be Fabricated, which combines drummer Zandro Morreale and Hassan’s voices in a unique way. Especially when singing about anxiety, it’s the little voice-breaking moments of emphasis that lend each song an extra punch. They’re kind enough to give a little shout out to Shout Louder that melts my heart; I look forward to catching these guys up North again in the future.
It’s my first time catching Bolton-based three piece Don Blake, and I’m pleasantly surprised by their set. They’re another band with really tight triple-vocal harmonies, switching lead duties between songs. They’ve got some strong pop punk/emo influences that shine through in the pitch of some of the singing, but there’s a lot more to them than that. The drums are tight, snappy and acutely punk, which works perfectly on this line-up, and their guitars sound boosts them into a stronger indie-punk category. The result is delightfully catchy and melodic, intensely upbeat and high energy.
They joke that they don’t have as many riffs as the others bands, so they have to cram one little shred of metal into a ten second solo on one of the songs. The one tight, tappy little blast left me wanting more, so they clearly know their audience! They also take the traditional mid-set break to rip the piss out of Tree, one of the organisers; an essential tenet of all Anarchistic Undertones shows.
Overall there’s a good bit of variety in their set, which has a backbone of non-commercial emo / pop-punk, grounded in some clever composition. Don Blake have got a lot of energy and a good grasp of what a crowd wants; it’s going to be fun watching them progress even further.
It’s not top notch journalism, but the only thing running through my head for the first two Consumed songs is, “Riffs for daaaaaays.” Professional, no. Accurate, yes. This band sound like they invented the riff, smashing out blast after catchy blast, which instantly fires up the audience.
Showing their age, a lot of the crowd have turned up just to see the headline act (everyone knows it’s cooler to watch the support bands now – get with the times, folks), so the room’s suddenly full of punk rockers and there’s a proper brawl down the front shouting along to Consumed’s old classics. It’s hard not to play a greatest hits set when every song your band has ever written is an all-out banger, so watching Consumed tonight feels like a golden rollercoaster of nostalgia, even though it’s the launch event for their new EP.
Wake Up Warning early on gets people really riled up; there’s fists in the air, heads bobbing and looks of mutual appreciation exchanged. In a pause to re-tune and catch their breath, singer Steve Ford teaches the crowd the singalong for Trapped Under Ice, which grants them a huge reaction for the chorus. Twat Called Morris gets an even bigger response, no doubt ecouraged by Steve’s explanation of the abusive step-dad that inspired it: “Fuck that cunt.” It feels like a rollercoaster of hits that’s never going to get let up when they kick into Dear James straight after.
Good to see some proper energy and enthusiasm in the room for the new material as well, especially for recent single What Would Cliff Burton Do? It goes to show how fluidly Consumed have slid back into their old songwriting habits, turning out six flawless punk rock tracks on the new Decade of No EP.
The band look like they’re having the best time, winding the crowd and the promoters up between songs. It’s this undercurrent of sarcasm, the sonic equivalent of a raised eyebrow, that had Fat Wreck touting Consumed as the most British of punks band (besides, perhaps, Snuff) back in the late 90s. Underneath all the furore for the new album, essential this is a strong, heavy old-school riffy punk set that’s designed to show the kids how it’s done.
It’s a pleasure to watch one of the most influential bands in the British punk scene playing a show DIY show over 20 years after their inception. This doesn’t feel like watching an ‘old’ band, despite the nostalgia value. This feels like watching an exciting, modern act slaying a crowd with irresistable hooks and undeniable riffs. This is what punk rock’s all about.