Live Reviews

Review: The Menzingers + Lagwagon at O2 Forum Kentish Town, London

Spirits were high as old-school punk rockers descended on the O2 Forum Kentish Town in their droves to see a stellar lineup of live music starting at early doors of 5pm.

The co-headlining tour between Lagwagon and The Menzingers saw support from The Lillingtons, Bad Cop/Bad Cop and The Lawrence Arms, but unfortunately, I did not make it to the venue until the supports had already played. By that time the 2000 people strong crowd were warmed up and eagerly anticipating Lagwagon, as they came out the crowd went wild.

Lagwagon started by playing ‘Burden of Proof’ and ‘Reign’ from their latest album Hang. I say latest but it should be noted it is four years old. After a couple more songs they kicked into playing Let’s Talk About Feelings, their fifth full-length album in its entirety.

The album will turn twenty in a few months and this tour was a wonderful way to mark the anniversary, even if it does smell a little of jumping on the ‘anniversary album show’ bandwagon that been so popular as of late. However, the album is only 26 minutes long so there was still plenty of time to get in some other classics and newer songs, in their hour-long set.

Then finally to whoops and cheers the band of the moment walked out, Philadelphia punks The Menzingers, and they opened with ‘After The Party’ which was fitting and no surprise as this was the After The Party Tour. They followed up closely with ‘Good Times’ from their third full-length record On The Impossible Past.

The band continued to knock out song after song with little to no communication with the audience but this was not much of a problem as most of the show-goers had come to sing and dance along. After about eight songs, vocalist Greg Barnett briefly addressed the audience with some short comments about the first time they toured in the UK before diving straight back into it.

Due to the current weather, the venue was so unbelievably hot and sweaty despite finding a nice space in the crowd that was not too cramped. It is times like this when you have to admire a bands dedication to getting the right look — guitarist Tom May was wearing a denim jacket and just looking at him made me break out into hot flushes.

The set was energetic and fun-filled good old-fashioned punk rock with the audience lapping it up, the front of the crowd was heaving with a mass of bodies surging forward, mingling in and out of each other they were really enjoying the set despite the heat and ignoring the no crowd surfing signs, and it seemed to whizz by too fast, like the hour was not enough.

The majority of songs were from After The Party and On The Impossible Past but a couple were thrown in from Rented World, their fourth full-length record. We also were treated to their most recent song ‘Toy Soldier’ that was dropped on us a couple of months ago, but we’re yet to know whether or not that release was a hint at a new album or a one-off.

It was at this point that some extremely sweaty guy threw his arms around me and asked if they had played ‘Tellin Lies’ yet as their set immediately came to a close. They had not played it yet and so it was no surprise that despite the fact that some people were leaving there was more to come. They played an encore of three more songs: ‘Tellin Lies’, ‘Bad Catholics’ and ‘Casey’ before leaving us all with that sweaty after show feeling and a buzzing in our ears, to make our way home.

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