Spunge, Robolint, Stand With The Skyline, Johnny Failure

Charlie Southwell 25/02/2007

Opening up as the first of no less than four acts, Johnny Failure played an emphatic set, dedicating “Reason” to one of their mums, much to the disappointment of some teenage girls. Fairly loose as a live band, but hell this is punk, it had the dedication, and the makings of an attitude. They finished with their two covers, which went down amazingly. A little surprisingly, they didn't keep one of their songs til after Blitzkrieg Bop, but did an amazing job of warming up the crowd. A band that has growing support of locals, and venues alike.

Stand With The Skyline, up next, dropped some new material into their energy packed show, though not entirely suited to the ska to follow - the pace of the show was more than a match for the crowd's attention. Angular guitar riffs and solos spiked through the rocky pop-punk set. In fact this band were so energetic I thought it could have been a mistake to put the bassist on the right hand side (facing off the stage) as when he jumped about I could see him knocking out the other members, luckily no such fatality occurred and suffice to say this band are heading for big things: if they can make that jump out of Exeter they will be huge.

Off the back of an Irish tour with new drummer, and the addition of a new guitarist Robolint tore the place apart with a couple of NEW SONGS!!! Not only was the crowd excited, but this huge live act were themselves genuinely happy to be back on the road, pumping out brand new material. The obligatory wall of death and a more bizarre ska ritual; getting the crowd to lay on the floor and on the word “go” they set off going mental… on the floor… was amazing to watch, and has to be said probably made the floor a damn sight cleaner. The set finale was absolutely crazy, a band which is now hugely experienced, but training new members are sounding more and more similar to Adequate Seven's rather untimely farewell album: ska pop, and fairly radio friendly.

[spunge] are a hilarious, 4-piece Ska band, bringing a hard work ethic, touring to promote as all great bands should. Somewhat feared/ignored by the media maybe from long held grudges over rifts in earlier days when they split from record company B-Unique, hard work has paid off and a few albums later we find them touring the UK yet again, this time until mid May. A fantastically packed set, seeing great songs from a mixture of their new and older material. They included their version of Robert Marley's “No Woman No Cry”, which was storming as the surprise cover of the evening, but my favourite was Men At Works “Land Down Under". Pure comedy in between songs; heckling, and then the band poking fun back was brilliant to see. A small mention of the problem with some local homeless people outside, was converted nicely into a joke about the bassists family, and a shame they weren't let in. Also a small degree of education; they taught everyone what a blumkin is, if you don't already know, you probably don't want to. Exeter on a Sunday did me proud: 210 people in this venue, seriously packed and everyone bounced in time with Spunge's effortless performance, and even featured a circle pit, although that was reasonably dangerous with the venue's intriguing structure. An uncompromisingly happy night. Here is to many many more.

Johnny Failure