Live Reviews

LIVE REVIEW: Counterfeit, Straight Lines, Dead!, O2 Academy, Islington, London, 18/12/2015

Following the release of their debut EP Come Get Some (check out our review HERE), tonight saw punk outfit Counterfeit playing their debut show in London’s O2 Islington Academy. With support coming from Dead! and Straight Lines, this sold out show looked set to be an early Christmas treat.

This year, London based Dead! seem to have been everywhere; but this isn’t a bad thing with their unique rock sound and captivating live show winning us over from the word go. Opening tonight with new track Up For Ransom, giving a taste of what new material is to bring, it flaunts bold sing-a-long choruses, electrifying energy and unison throughout the band. In short; we cannot wait to hear this recorded! Providing the first crowd participation of the night is Alaska, complete with howls throughout the audience. Well, everyone was meant to live like wolves for the four minute track! If we were to give a little resolution for the new year it would be for a little more crowd connection to be developed earlier on, to make the new audiences get stuck into the band’s sets. Newest addition to the quintet drummer Adam Breeze steals the show with his fiery drumlines matched with passionate facial expressions, showing just how much he’s loving tonight’s set. After such a successful 2015, 2016 is already set to be a busy one for this quintet. With their live sets being some of BTN’s favourites of the year, we’d recommend you make it your resolution to check one out yourself!

Follow up support Straight Lines take tonight’s sound in a new direction, their Welsh rock sound instantly winning the support of the sold out crowd. Performing tracks from their back catalogue, rammed with catchy guitar riffs, punk edges and a party infused atmosphere the night is in full swing. Tom Jenkin’s vocals and attitude during Praise Me, Praise You becomes a highlight of the night: they’re big, bold and screaming with passion. Straight Lines aren’t holding back tonight with fan favourites The Ballad of Peter Devine and Antics seeing pockets of sing-a-longs bursting out from within the crowd.  It’s near impossible not to become hooked with their perfected performance oozing in fun and finesse.

Now, debut live shows are always a nerving experience but with a 800 capacity sold out crowd in front of them and just three songs released, this was even more the case for Counterfeit. Walking onstage to an eardrum bursting roar, it’s clear that this set is definitely going to end 2015 on a high.

Opening with Hold Fire, a track taken from their debut EP, the energy increase instantly with Jamie Campbell-Bower’s powerful vocals captivating the crowd. Across the stage and within the crowd standing still isn’t an option tonight. The set is largely comprised of unheard tracks, and yes there isn’t groundbreaking sing-a-long’s constantly throughout the set but that doesn’t stop a sea of movement, hands waving in the air and smiles gracing the crowd’s faces.

Counterfeit are one of those bands who may not have been on the scene for long but have nailed the art of performing, with slick headbanging across the board from Campbell-Bower, Roland Johnson, Sam Campbell-Bower and Tristan Marmont. It’s not every day that you see such a perfected debut performance, so Counterfeit we take our hats off to you. If this is just the start for this talented punk outfit we cannot wait to see where it leads by late 2016.

It takes a lot of guts to not only write powerful lyrics about personal issues, but to perform them to a sold out crowd. Tonight sees Jamie Campbell-Bower entering the crowd to perform Letter To The Lost, dedicated to a personal friend who sadly took his own life. The sheer emotion and passion infused within this four minute track sends shiver down the spines of many, providing a thought provoking point in the set.

With the set drawing to a close, time is taken to address the family in the crowd tonight with Jamie noting his train driver looking dad standing within. Addiction retains the sharp guitar lines, pounding drums and rough vocals which makes it a little too tempting to dance like nobody’s watching. Counterfeit specialise in raw punk energy which we never get enough of at live shows nowadays, so it’s refreshing and bloody great fun to witness.

Saving the very best ’til last with sultry fan favourite Come Get Some Jamie strips to his boxers to show off his latest tattoo in honour of the show selling out, a quote of the night “don’t look at my penis!” being unleashed…We’re almost deafened by the crowd screams – we wish we were joking. It’s clear that the quintet are loving absolutely every minute as screams of “lights out, move slow, you know now you’re gonna get some” fill the room. Chaos, cheers and catchy guitar riffs – what more could you want?

Tonight’s set might have been simple, without any gimmicks or any fancy tricks but this added to the magic. Counterfeit will become your favourite punk band by the end of 2016, with passionate live shows and fiery tracks to match – we’ll definitely be heading down to the newly announced Electric Ballroom show in April for our next fix!

9/10

Written By: Nicola Craig

Nicola Craig
Head of Live with an unwavering love for pop music, the seaside and writing about other people rather than myself.