With a monster new album just out (A Big Bad Beautiful Noise reviewed in Music-news.com) and a new line up, the capacity crowd at London’s Academy Islington was expectant and Peter Coyne and the boys gave them all they could have wished for.

Kicking off with a massive version of ‘Coz I Said So’ the band were in a tight and punchy groove from the first with Coyne almost spitting out the title. Diving immediately into a great ‘Defibrillator’ they were aggressive as hell and sporting confidence pouring out of every pore. Guitarists Steve Crittal and Mauro Venegas were tearing out the riffs while Darren Birch’s bass was critical to the soul of the band. Tim James drums were never less than on the mark and all through a long set he just delivered, number after number.

Peter Coyne’s vocals have become more and more raspy and rough-edged over the years but it only seems to make the songs delivery more rooted in the punk edge of the band’s sound. The band were all about hi-energy and power but not covering the melodies in the numbers – the effect is to lift the listener’s adrenaline and get the whole crowd into the event where Coyne can just draw them into his pugnacious persona.

So many crowd favourites were thrown out to the crowd to enjoy – ‘Till My Heart Stops Beating’ was superb, ‘You Don’t Love Me’ had the pogoing started in earnest and ‘Unreal World’ just whined brilliantly. I though that ‘Walking Talking Johnny Cash Blues’ might be slowing the action a little but the band put over the rockabilly classic with real passion.

Coyne has a way with the crowd – catching his breath he pointed out an Australian visitor and a couple from Germany, commenting “Some &^%$ bleated to me “When are you going to play Leicester?” Ain’t you ever heard of the fucking Megabus?”; cue great laughter from the mob.

He got the whole place singing along with ‘Birth School Work Death’ and I was surprised when the whole place seemed familiar with the new album songs, especially ‘Big Bad Beautiful Noise’ itself.

There aren’t many bands whose ownership of the crowd is greater but I guess that when you’ve been on the scene since 1985 you probably have learnt a bit about working the audience. They had the balls to be there and the crowd to support them.

Great music is timeless and this band is too. A great Saturday night.

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