2nd August | Golden Lion
Photos: Jonny Nolan
There are many interesting lessons one could learn from going to see Football FC. The first, of sociological nature, tells us that Andy Bennet’s studies claiming that older punks tend to stand at the bottom of venues, quietly chatting and sipping pints, is totally wrong. Especially at The Golden Lion, where not only do they join youngsters front stage, but also mosh way more insanely. The second lesson is that whenever there’s a copious group of mature punters waiting outside the venue, you’re in for a treat.
I realise that straight away when, walking towards the bottom of the pub, a raucous cover of The Stooges’ “I Wanna Be Your Dog” by The New America blasts out of the amps with that raw power that does justice to Iggy Pop’s band’s third studio effort. It’s from minor details like this that one can appreciate the bridge linking the past and future of fuzzy guitar music. Fuzzy and distorted guitars is what The New America surely do best. There certainly is a degree of ripeness in their music, matched by genuine enthusiasm and anger.
Their performance is often chaotic, but in a rather captivating way. The amalgamation of gritty vocals, relentless drumbeats, piercing guitars and uplifting pop melodies first disorientates but then seduces the crowd, just like the odd contrast between the singer’s old-school mustard Fred Perry shirt and the bassist’s flashy yellow hi-vis gilet. Past and future, a new way of interpreting a classic genre, just like the band name says. The New America are ones to watch.
Football FC may well be another fresh band, but their experience and skills justify the hype that has quickly built up around the Bristol outfit. Inevitably drawing comparisons to IDLES and Heavy Lungs, Football FC prove that punk justifies being a much-talked about trend in the city’s underground scene. Don’t let these parallels draw you back, or tick the cliché box. Football FC are an ecstatic turmoil, a turbulent experience going beyond punk, sometimes bordering hardcore and topped by solid lyric-writing skills.
Labels do often defy their purpose, so the band comes to our aid with their self-definition of ‘spunk’, which somehow captures the unpredictable nature of their performance. This ranges from members of the audience joining the act on stage for a song, to an unsolicited stage invasion by an over-enthusiastic fan high-fiving the drummer. Just when you thought the gig couldn’t get more absurd, Football FC’s bass player sits down, back to the amp, nailing notes on his instrument. You may think it’s the Saigon forest-like humidity of the room not forgiving his choice of wearing a flannel shirt in August, or a nihilist pose justified by the crowd of hip kids squeezing to the front to snap him with their film cameras.
When it becomes clear that a plastic bucket has been positioned next to the main mic stand, everyone quickly realises what it’s destined to contain. It’s an unusual peak to a show. Once they’ve lost a band member, there’s no chance of encore. Who needs one though, after witnessing the punkiest live experience in a while?
Listen to ‘Apartment’ here: