Random Hand // Nambucca // London

15 October 2011

By: Chris Fishlock

As part of their amazingly named “Terminatour”, Yorkshire ska-punk-metal act Random Hand hit up North London’s best small music venue, Nambucca, bringing along a great selection of ska infused bands from the current UK scene.

Opening the night were acoustic act Chapter Eleven, playing with one less member than usual. Their short set contained some well written songs that could just have easily have been performed by one person, but the use of two acoustic guitars allowed their sound to become louder – making them fit better into the line up, as well as having songs about passed away Anti-Vigilante drummer and Rebellion festival – these are guys who are just as much fans as they are musicians.

Adam Payne // Resolution 242

Second band on the bill were the brilliant Resolution 242 playing a short set of powerful tracks mostly taken from their recent EP ‘Resurgence’. Most the set featured ‘Mr Wheelz’ on hip-hop vocals, the band ignored their Dog The Dog released debut album and sounded very much like a different act. This is a band clearly still in development, but they are starting to create their own solid sound – definitely a band worth keeping an eye on.

Next up were Essex reggae act New Town Kings, giving a fantastic half hour set made up mostly of songs from their well received recent album ‘MOJO’. Playing with one less guitar than normal was a slight downside but this did not affect the overall sound a great deal. Where the previous two acts had failed to have much of an active audience New Town Kings managed to achieve a decent portion of the crowd – skanking their hearts out with the incredibly danceable music. New Town Kings are a great and entertaining live act, perfect to get people dancing. They have a tight live sound leading to flawless performances from the clearly talented band – well worth checking out live.

No nonsense skacore// Anti Vigilante

Aggressive skacore band Anti-Vigilante had a bit of trouble with their guitar amp, but this didn’t stop them from tearing the place apart with their mix of hardcore punk and ska, with front man Josh switching between vocals and saxophone. It’s very easy to compare the band to British ska punk heroes Capdown, the two bands have a lot of similarities (including both being from Milton Keynes), but Anti-Vigilante are a much more aggressive band, just lacking the discography that Capdown can flaunt. The band proved to be a perfect warm up for Random Hand, despite their technical difficulties – but they did still manage to keep a full room and perform well.

Arriving on stage to a enthusiastic and packed crowd Random Hand kicked off with ‘Find What’s Out There’ but were interrupted by a failing guitar amp much like the previous set from Anti-Vigilante. After starting again the guitar amp failed yet again, but luckily having given up on the opening song they didn’t have any further problems. The band played a fast paced, entertaining set with a good combination of songs from all three of their albums; including fan favourites such as ‘Bones’ and ‘Play Some Ska’.

Random Hand // Matthew Crosher

The band kept the crowd active for the entirety of the set, even having to ask the crowd to calm down at times, but also spurred on the crowd to partake in a “crawl of death” during ‘Anthropology’ which was fairly entertaining to watch (like you can imagine it was much like a wall of death but with crawling). Ending the set with ‘Anger Management’ once again Random Hand proved that they are one of the best live bands in the ska scene today, the only criticism you could give to their set was they didn’t play the 90’s classic ‘Macarena’ as the crowd requested (because let’s face it, Random Hand doing a cover of ‘Macarena’ would be incredible).

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New Town Kings - M.O.J.O

New Town Kings

M.O.J.O

Released: July 18 2011

Genre: Reggae / Ska

Label: Bomber Music

Rating: 4.0/5

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By: Chris Fishlock

After bringing us great albums recently from The Skints and Random Hand, Bomber Music have another fantastic band up their sleeves – New Town Kings. Having released their debut ‘Sound of the New Town’ way back in 2007, New Town Kings have finally returned with M.O.J.O, one of the greatest reggae albums for quite some time. There isn’t really a weak track on M.O.J.O, and every track, whatever the tempo is very danceable.

The LP is produced perfectly, with a great mix of instruments that create a great authentic ska sound. None of the instruments are too overwhelming, letting no element dominate the music, which gives us a well-mixed sound of horns, guitar, bass and drums. The songs are memorable and have you singing along after a few listens, particularly on highlight tracks Newstand and Dynamite. New Town Kings are clearly talented musicians as well as songwriters and their use of horns is certainly one of their more interesting aspects – bringing us some great horn lines, especially on Stop and closing track Brighter Days.

Many of the songs across M.O.J.O are unashamedly danceable; where ever you are listening to this record whether at home, work or out in public you will feel compelled to start skanking, which suggests they could have some pretty fun future live shows. As well as sounding like an authentic reggae band you also can tell the influence from the two-tone era of ska, and would fit nicely next to albums from The Specials or The Selector.

You’ll be making no mistake picking up this album, but make sure you have your dancing shoes on. It’s great to hear a reggae album this good that also works well as a complete album, as well as the songs working fine alone. And it’s especially impressive that such a good reggae album comes from a British band. The ska scene in the UK right now is becoming more vibrant than ever, and along with their record label companions The Skints and Random Hand, New Town Kings are another great addition to a great music scene.

M.O.J.O – Album Sampler