Zebrahead are an American punk rock band from Orange County, California and we were lucky that they descended on this little part of London called Islington for an epic show at the O2 Academy.
With a back catalogue of 13 albums they had plenty of songs to choose from and were bound to be giving us a huge set of songs that regular gig-goers crave. First, however, we were introduced to their support band The Bottom Line.
Many people may remember the band The Bottom Line from their starstudded video for the release of the single ‘Reasons’. It was shot at Download Festival and included cameos from Simple Plan, Bury Tomorrow and the Faim to mention a few. However, there’s more to the band than that, they go far beyond one video wonders as it were. They have a pretty nice old school pop-punk feel to their music that fits well with a band of legends like Zebrahead and was definitely a good fit with the fans.
They burst onto the stage larger than life and filled it with their presence no problem at all. There was plenty of pop-punk jumping and running about; their energy was catching because the crowd young and old were doing plenty of running and jumping too. They inspired a lot of audience participation and at one point opened up the biggest pit I have ever seen at this venue. The only safe space was right at the back of the room where there was a great view of the pit for those braver to get in on.
It was obvious the crowd loved them and it was just as obvious that they were having the time of their lives. They are just one of those bands that love to perform and it shows. It is always enjoyable watching a band who like to play more than they like the limelight because it creates a great audience-centric experience. After this particular performance, it is undoubtedly highly recommended to keep an eye out for their shows in the future and of course buy their latest album No Vacation.
The Bottom Line was the only support and they had done a great job getting the crowd ready for their main course. There was only a short break between bands before we heard a very familiar song come over the system: ‘America Fuck Yeah’, and the crowd sang along through laughter in the dark before the main attraction finally walked out. Very typical of Zebrahead to make an entrance that would have the crowd both hyped and hysterical at the same time. After shouting at us, “London what the fuck’s up,” and welcoming us in their own special way to the show they kicked in with ‘All My Friends Are Nobodies’, ‘Call Your Friends’, and then ‘Running With Wolves’.
After a few songs, they welcomed a couple of their friends on stage, the two drunk aliens. Their not-so-little but quite literal green men came out from the wings to chug some beer cheered on by the crowd. The only problem was they failed miserably to complete the task despite only having half-full glasses to begin with. Though it was a funny distraction if nothing else that reminded a lot of the older members of the crowd how antics drove the shows of punk yesteryear. The set was a great mix of many albums with slightly more songs from Walk the Plank than Brain Invaders and including great songs from Waste of MFZB, Broadcast to the World and Call Your Friends.
The crowd were a mixed bag; old, young and in between but they were all united by a wonderfully great time. All sections of the crowd were dancing and singing along, there was crowd surfing and all. The audience definitely received the band well and that could be because of Zebrahead as the main draw is a band that you only listen to if you like them, they’re not likely to be on your local radio station and their success is one of longevity opposed to being a new splash in the scene type of band. So do them and yourselves a favour and have a listen to any of their brilliant albums, play them to your friends and put them on the party playlist.
Photos by Ciara Wilkinson.