Last Updated on March 5, 2023
Originally published in Beat Motel issue 9
After working for the day in London and spending the entire journey home hoping the train wouldn’t crap out like it normally does I managed to jump in my Sooty van and bomb down the A140 to Norwich.
Our van is a Daihatsu Hi-Jet so admittedly ‘bombing it’ entails travelling at around 40mph, but boy does that feel fast when you’re travelling in a tin can the size of a baked bean tin! We were pretty confident that the band we were there to see (Crime in Stereo) would be main support so we sat about outside the U.E.A pointing and giggling at the huge queue of over-hirsute yoofs.
I’ve never understood the point of queuing when you’ve got a ticket for a gig, it’s not like they’re not going to let you in. Back to the hair, my god, kids have so much these days.
After discussing one particularly mad boy-head that made the owner look like he’d done fifteen laps backwards in a Hadron Collider I heard something that made me prick my ears up like a Meer Kat in a wildebeest stampede. There was familiar thunder of drums coming from inside the venue, the bewilderingly large PA at the U.E.A filtered through the building, somewhat muffled by the wall of pubescent hair before it and my gig buddy Dom and I stopped our chuckling and looked at each other in horror,
“FUCK, it’s Crime in Stereo!”
There should be a lesson in here somewhere about not mocking kids that you might need to befriend to cut in line with but ah fuck it, Dom and I were far larger than these little pishers anyway! Only joking, Dom and I legged it to the back of the queue and stepped from one foot to another in an agitated-fashioned muttering,
“We’re missing them, we’re missing them!”
To anyone else in the queue it probably looked much like we had both managed to sleepwalk into our 30s without perfecting the ability to control our bladders! Once inside I nodded politely as I was told the usual rules dictating that I could only take photos for the first three songs. I may have been a little distracted when the security staff were relaying this information as by my calculations the only band I really wanted to watch (Crime in Stereo) were already nearing the end of their second song!
After getting my ‘don’t beat me up security dudes’ pass I dived into the photo pit damn near head first and held down the shutter without break for the remainder of the third song. One thing I like about the ‘three song rule’ that most big venues have is that once you’ve hurriedly fired off five or six hundred frames right at the start of the set you can then relax and enjoy the rest of the band’s performance without worrying about standing on a fellow photographer, braining a scene kid with your camera at the barriers or worse of all, accidently kneeing a security guard in the bollocks!
It’s the first time I’ve seen Crime in Stereo on a big stage, in fact this is only the second time I’ve seen them and the first was in a London basement with only about thirty other people! This is the first night of Crime in Stereo supporting New Found Glory so I guess they’re still getting into the swing of things, which may explain their slightly restrained performance. It was great to hear the songs we loved really loud, albeit utterly bass ridden and bombastic!
This is a band that appears to be on the verge of something really huge, teetering on the edge of greatness and I very much look forward to their next move in this huge chess game we call punk rock. I managed to wander back stage and give bassist Matt the copies of Beat Motel I promised him outside that tiny London gig I mentioned early. I may have spoken a little fast when explaining what the hell I was shoving in his hands as I didn’t actually have a backstage pass and felt on borrowed time, so Matt, if you’re reading this I hope I didn’t freak you out too much!
Four Years Strong looks like they’d be interesting, from what I could see there was an ever increasing number of vocalists leaping about on stage like the floor was on fire. There was also an impressive show of facial hair. I’ve noticed more and more American bands sporting huge beards recently, as the USA scene is always a bit ahead of the UK scene maybe this heralds the replacement for the scourge that is ‘scene hair’? Wow, that would be pretty weird. Fuck knows what Four Years Strong sound like though; I think the sound guys were having some sort of bet to see if they could find the ‘brown note’. I couldn’t make out a thing, just BOOM BOOM BOOM and the occasional uncomfortable look on some scene kids face and they clutched the back of their kecks hoping none of their mates had noticed. Yeah, our bowels are tougher than that ya fuckers!
I dived back in the pit for Set Your Goals and was alarmed to see what looked like my mate Mushroom on vocals. Again, I couldn’t make much out but what I did hear sounded like some sort of positive life affirming cheery hardcore. Mushroom was a big gruff lad but there was also a skinny wee squeaky New Yoik sounding chap bouncing around the stage. I kinda liked what I heard, but this probably wasn’t the best introduction to the band.
Then before long it was time for New Found Glory. When they came on the place erupted, it was quite something to behold. The UEA has a fairly deep sunken dance floor and from our viewpoint on the edge it looked like someone was boiling a fucking huge saucepan full of coiffured hair and acne!
I’ve got to confess New Found Glory kinda passed me by when they first emerged. I always thought they were a joke band, I don’t mean I thought they were a joke, more a band that didn’t take anything seriously. At the time that was the antithesis of what I felt punk should be, these days I’m in a band that takes that doesn’t even take tuning up seriously so I should love this band.
Three songs in and we decided to hit the road and leave the party to those that really wanted it!
- Andrew Culture