The mood in the O2 Forum Kentish Town was high as a room full of old and new school punks alike waited for the Philadelphia rockers The Menzingers to give them the night of their lives.

First things first, Mannequin Pussy burst onto the stage, who are also from Philadelphia which is known for producing some of the greatest punk on that side of the pond. Their particular brand of punk seemed to be hugely popular with the crowd. Vocalist Marisa Dabience screamed the lyrics to ‘F.U.C.A.W’, What did you say to me, boy? / Come on and spit it in my face,” and it’s not exactly subtle but the audience lapped it up.

Next up were Spanish Love Songs who may not be what you expect when you hear the name of their band. Once their sophomore record Schmaltz was released in 2018 they became a household name for any self-respecting punk rocker! The Los Angeles-based group have just recently released their latest album Brave Faces Everyone but you wouldn’t know it was new material the way the crowd sang along. It was received just as well with those most probably hearing it for the first time too.

The Menzingers came out fast and furious to their song ‘Anna’ from the album Hello Exile which was a great opener and the audience loved it. The album Hello Exile actually helped make The Menzingers strong contenders for the title of kings of melodic punk. So it’s no surprise that songs from this record were met with whoops and cheers by the diverse crowd consisting of fans of all ages and casual listeners alike.

The set was one of good old fashioned punk rock that The Menzingers have brought us time after time, and as an audience we loved it. Down front, the crowd were tightly ramed together with mini pits opening up around the place ending almost as abruptly as they started one after the other. Some people were jumping, some were dancing but nearly all of them were screaming along to the lyrics of their favourite songs brought to life with effortless mastery from the band.

The fan favourite ‘I Don’t Wanna Be An Asshole Any More’ is a great example of the love fans have for the classics with the crowd going absolutely mental for it. Songs from After the Party were particularly popular with the audience, ‘Your Wild Years’ and ‘Thick As Thieves’ were up there with the best moments of the night, with ‘Lookers’ ending the set.

The Menzingers gave a quick encore with ‘In Remission’ and then as you would expect or at least hope, ‘After the Party’ rounded off the night nicely.

Photos by Andrew Blowers.

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