Gig Review: The Interrupters, Brixton Academy, London

America’s ska punk favourites, The Interrupters, have wrapped up their UK tour, bringing their latest album ‘Into The Wild’ out to the fans. Punktuation Mag’s Ruth Rae was there to capture the night.

Undeterred by Tube line closures and a massive event at Wembley (more of that later!), I made my way from West London to Brixton nice ‘n’ early to get into the queue outside the O2 Academy in good time for the final night of The Interrupters UK tour.

Brixton Academy fully deserves its reputation – it’s stunning both inside and out, and the steeply-raked floor enables a great view of the stage from anywhere. Most importantly, the sound and lighting are excellent. Doors opened at 7 pm, and the first support act, The Bar Stool Preachers bounced onto the stage at 7.30. Earlier in the tour some venues had been slow to let people in, but Brixton got everyone in quickly, so the venue was gratifyingly filled with people when the band bounced onto the stage!

Having recently returned from playing to a crowd of 35,000 in Bremen, supporting Die Toten Hosen, the Preachers were stoked to play Brixton.

Karl BSP
Karl Barstool Preachers © Ruth Rae

Frontman TJ McFaull said with genuine awe, “This is something I’ve wanted to say all my life – Hello, Brixton!” The band’s energy won them hundreds of new fans during their short support slot. They played roof-raising songs from their first single ‘One Fool Down‘ to ‘When This World Ends‘ from the lockdown EP ‘Soundtrack To Your Apocalypse‘.

Every band member looked like they were having the time of their lives, and their infectious enthusiasm had the crowd clapping, singing and dancing along! With a new album imminent and big tour news coming for next year, it’s safe to say that The Bar Stool Preachers’ star is rising rapidly and brightly, which is 100% deserved.

The second support band, The Skints, made the most of their only hometown gig, dedicating the 2015 song ‘This Town‘ to the people of London. Alongside The Bar Stool Preachers, The Skints have supported The Interrupters during their European and UK tour yet showed no signs of weariness.

Skints © Ruth Rae

Their reggae and dub-infused ska-punk immediately had the audience dancing. It was impossible not to be impressed by vocalist and multi-instrumentalist Marcia Richards, as she played keyboards, saxophone, melodica, flute, guitar, and sampler (not all at the same time!).

Additional strong lead vocals from Jamie Kyriakides (drums) and Josh Waters Rudge (guitar) give the band a musical fluidity that fits in well with their varied influences. This band truly has something for everyone. The crowd was in agreeance as they left the stage to thunderous applause. The Skints will be going on to support Flogging Molly and The Interrupters on tour throughout the USA during the rest of September.

As The Interrupters took to the stage, the previously well-mannered crowd suddenly surged forwards, and the front section rapidly descended into mosh pit mayhem with shoving and elbows.

Having survived the pit at numerous punk gigs, I was not expecting this! It wasn’t possible to get good photos. My glasses nearly got knocked off, and after a few numbers, I decided to retreat when the woman in front of me chose to stamp hard on my foot – just as well I was wearing my Doc Martens!

Interrupters © Ruth Rae

Further back was friendlier – there was more space to dance, and it was possible to move around to take photos and videos.

The set list included songs from The Interrupters’ entire back catalogue of four studio albums. This included several from last month’s new release, ‘In The Wild‘.

During the show, expressive lead vocalist Aimee Interrupter (with her familiar gold-topped microphone) emphasised the supportive family ethos of the band. This reflects in many of their songs, including, ‘A Friend Like Me’,Family‘ and ‘Got Each Other.The audience was inspired to sing along, many of them hugging friends and loved ones.

Kevin & Aimee Interrupters
Kevin & Aimee Interrupters © Ruth Rae

Guitarist Kevin Bivona expressed his sincere gratitude to all of us for coming to the show saying, “We don’t take any of this for granted”. Along with his brothers, Justin (bass) and Jesse (drums), they powered through many Interrupters hits, including my personal favourites, ‘Title Holder‘, ‘In The Mirror‘ and the cathartic ‘Gave You Everything. ‘We were also lucky to be treated to the live debut of Let’ Em Go, the band was initially unsure if it would work, but it was absolutely brilliant and very well received!

The Interrupters hinted that we’d be in for something special to end this tour. For the encore, The Skints returned to join them on stage for an emotional performance of the new track ‘Love Never Dies’, a beautiful song about remembering those we’ve lost.

Both bands dedicated the song to Taylor Hawkins of the Foo Fighters whose memorial concert was held at Wembley Stadium that same evening. Much to my delight, The Interrupters then launched into ‘The Guns of Brixton’ by The Clash, which of course, we all sang along to. Kevin stated that he just had to play this in Brixton!

Interrupters © Ruth Rae

This heralded the arrival of local ska legend Rhoda Dakar who sang on her collaborative track with the band ‘As We Live‘. I was amazed when she told us that this was the first time she’d performed on the Academy stage, even though she’d been coming to the venue since 1965!

A massive highlight for me came next – Rhoda singing her cover of ‘The Bodysnatchers’ 1980 hit ‘Let’s Do Rock Steady‘ – which I suspect also meant an enormous amount to her.

The Interrupters closed the evening with their massive hit ‘She’s Kerosene’ and a shower of confetti across the auditorium, which echoed with cheers and applause for not only an incredible show but a highly successful UK tour.

I think we would all like to express our gratitude to The Interrupters for the seven performances they played across the UK this summer – thank you, and see you again next year!

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