Whose Streets? Our Streets!

Party season has officially begun in the last week, and I couldn’t have started my festivities in a better way than double booking my first office party with a gig. Starting the night with a lovely three course meal (and free flowing pinot) with colleagues in Kentish Town, I met up with a mate and we made our way to Camden.

The famous Electric Ballroom was our destination and the brilliant King Blues the reason. Having seen the band years ago, I’d also been anticipating this gig for a while since receiving my copy of the excellent 101 Haikus by frontman, Jonny ‘Itch’ Fox. (See Special Delivery)

Having arrived fashionably late to the venue we just caught the end of the second support bands set. As the excitement started building up in the crowd my mate asked me ‘how close I wanted to get’ to the stage. We ended up near the middle (which turned out to be a wise move).

True to his philanthropist form, Itch gave the stage to a representative of an excellent charity called Suited and Booted. The band was also run a food drive, asking those attending to bring tinned goods for distribution to the homeless. 

Itch then kicked things off by launching straight into his spoken word piece What If Punk Never Happened; with the fired up crowd repeated most of it back to him. It felt like we were all performing together. When the band joined him on stage they were a tour de force from start to finish. They thundered through tracks from throughout the bands’ almost 15 year catalogue, bringing to life classics like Music Man from their first album through to Heart of a Lion from their latest album Gospel Truth.

King Blues

The floor basically erupted into a pit from the first note which lasted for most the show, except for a few quieter moments where Itch serenaded us with his ukulele – encouraging me to keep practising. At one point he asked for someone with a vape pen to join him on stage and ‘be his smoke machine’ with wonderfully hilarious consequences. 
Ukulele goals
The combination of ska, punk, rap and a dash of reggae was delivered with such passion and power which was absorbed and multiplied by the skanking/moshing crowd and thrown back into air giving the room a concentrated intense feeling but in no way threatening. It was almost like a therapy session, thrashing out to express personal frustrations but without malice.
Keeping the pit going
On the edge of the pit I was skanking and pogo-ing most the way through, and while the occasional crowd member got shoved in our direction, those of us on the outside were taking care of each other and it all remained good natured. I was even hugging a total stranger at one point.
Breaking the intensity with some Acapella
The show was over so quickly, and as Itch announced the last song he told us of his intention to crowd surf to the back of the room and get behind the merchandise stand where he’d be signing copies of his book. I grabbed my mate by the hand and made a bee line. I had to take the chance to congratulate him on his book in person and thank him for his kind words in response to my review of his work. 
Wonderful feedback
Not sure if he’d remember I introduced myself and rattled off who I was as he shook my hand and leaned in to try and hear what I was saying. He suddenly bent forward and pressed my hand to his forehead and thanked me again which was wonderful. I asked for a photo and my quick thinking friend already had his phone camera ready.
Fan girl
The night was simply perfect. Heading to a nearby bar for a nightcap with my mate I noticed I had lost the badge on my bag that I had bought from the Basquiat exhibition. I hoped it was just on the Electric Ballroom floor somewhere and not in the bottom of someone’s foot. This saddened me a little but also made me feel just a bit more punk.

Signed copies of 101 Haikus are available on Amazon, but supplies are limited and these are the last of the first edition so don’t dawdle. Get yours here