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THE LIVING END: Live in New York

THE LIVING END – 21.11.16: Live at The Gramercy Theatre, New York

the-living-endOn a cold Monday night in New York I decided to check out who was playing live as I was in town for a couple of days. Using the excellent Bandsintown App I was delighted to see that Australian punk legends The Living End were playing, so I bought tickets and hopped on the metro to the Gramercy Theatre.

 

As I walked in to the venue, The Screaming Rebel Angels tuning up. Fronted by the magnetic Laura with her ‘50’s hairstyle, tattooed torso and leopard skin dress and superbly backed by the double bass, lead guitar and tight as you like drumming, they blew me away. They were third on the bill and real treat with an Eddie Cochran – Ramones pastiche being one of the highlights. They looked to be having fun and slowly but surely they started to bring people away from the bar and concessions area onto the floor. They played good old rockabilly but Laura’s voice adds a dash of soul. Check them out, you wont be disappointed and, like me, buy an album if you can – their website is here: http://screaminrebelangels.com/

 

counterpunch

Counterpunch

Next up were Chicago skate-punk legends, Counterpunch. They had a few loyal followers in the crowd who knew most of their songs and they even managed to encouraged a circle pit – no mean feat for a support band on a Monday night. Counterpunch are true punk rock with heavy basslines (well turned up in the mix) and two guitars thrashing some tunes all backed by some brilliant drums. They would have been strong headliners in their own right and delivered a sparkling energetic set where the entire band looked to be enjoying themselves. They also came across as a band of brothers with close friendships that permeated into the feel good feeling in the room.

 

The venue began to fill out nicely for the headliners and an appreciative roar welcomed the three piece onto the stage. I was not prepared for next hour plus of my life as The Living End were simply magnificent. To put the gig into context, I would rate it as one of the top three I have ever seen. Scott Owen’s double bass was awesome, the guitar work of Chris Cheney rivaled anyone I have ever seen (Including Olga, Billy Joe and others) and Andy Strachan’s drumming just propelled the entire gig.

the-living-endOpening with Pictures In The Mirror where the Beatles meet Stiff Little Fingers and run off into Bad Religion-land, the crowd are up for it and so are the band. Cheney has a natural rapport building personality and informs us that this is the last gig of the tour as well as the first time in 10 years the band have played New York.

The played with a passion and fury that just sucked me in. The emo-tinged Staring Down The Barrel included a guitar solo that Mark Knopfler would have been proud of. They introduced Raise The Alarm as being recorded just across the Hudson in Hoboken, New Jersey and it had the place rocking (Bad Religion comparisons came to mind) as did White Noise from the same album. Owen throws the massive double bass around as if it’s a toy and climbs on top, produces a superb solo and smiles a lot!

The band starts to take requests as everyone is having fun and, to the delight of the crowd, launch into the Oi infused Uncle Harry – it feels as though I’m watching Green Day in a small intimate bar and it feels good. Who’s Gonna Save Us? Just builds up to the final song of the set, the immortal Prisoner of Society. I remember when the magazine Sounds rated No Government by Anti Pasti as the 3rd best punk track of all time, well I would place Prisoner… right up there….what a song!

counterpunchThey returned for an encore that consisted of a brilliant rockabilly instrumental and then the aptly named Monday….a song that covers a shooting massacre and just, rocks….this was punk rock at it’s best…I cannot believe that these boys are not massive….

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