Editor's Rating

An overall enjoyable evening of ska punk and reggae

Rating out of 10

Faintest Idea plus Tree House Fire and Millie Manders & The Shut Up

Venue: The Black Heart, London

Date: 6th November 2016

Sunday nights aren’t commonly the time for partying, but somebody forgot that memo by booking Kings Lynn ska punks Faintest Idea to get rowdy in Camden. Faintest Idea had recently toured Europe and are now on a run of UK shows before they get restless sitting at home. Joining the ska outfit on the night was Millie Manders and her backup band The Shut Up, providing a lot of fun and energy, also on the bill was reggae dub act Tree House Fire to deliver chilled out vibes.

Millie Manders & The Shut Up kicked off with their popular hit, ‘Little Big Mouth’, in front of a semi-packed out crowd, some of which were happy to have a little dance early on. Manders and co unleashed a variety of two-tone vibes and ska punk numbers, nearly all of them designed to get a crowd moving. Early on into the set Manders introduced the idea of a drinking game during ‘Bacchus’, whenever the frontwoman said the word “drink”, the audience would have to take a swig.

Millie Manders and The Shut Up

Millie Manders and The Shut Up

‘Teddy’ unleashed the singer’s deranged side, where Manders’ mannerisms showed the character of someone quite unhinged; matching the lyricism about obsessions and going crazy. Overall it was an enjoyable set, plenty of ska rhythms and riffs that packed a punch, pumping brass melodies and Mander‘s voice was distinctively powerful. The highlight came though when the band performed a cover of Van Morrison‘s ‘Brown Eyed Girl’, pretty much everyone in the crowd sang along to the well-known hit.

Tree House Fire followed up with the most kicked back set I’ve seen all year. The reggae/dub act was treated to a bigger crowd, and people gathered closer to the stage to sway and dance along. Apart from that, there wasn’t a great deal to talk about. Occasionally the tempo was raised and the rhythms were performed harder, leading the dancing in the crowd to become more energetic. It was all just happy vibes and an all round fun atmosphere. The singing guitarist was in his element, always with a smile on his face and making sure everyone else was having a good time, to which he received fantastic responses every time. It was another delightful set and a nice intermission before a lively Faintest Idea hit the stage.

Tree House Fire

Tree House Fire

It was only a couple of months ago that we caught Faintest Idea at Wotsit Called Fest, and they performed a 10/10 set. Could the Kings Lynn ska punks do it again? of course they could. The current run of shows has seen the return of trumpet player, Sara performing live again, though Saxman Lil Dan was missing. Faintest Idea kicked off with the first few tracks from their most recent album ‘Increasing The Minimum Rage’, the crowd started dancing and rocking out hard to opener ‘Circling The Drain’ and didn’t let up throughout the set. As always, the brass was infectious and Dani’s vocals were suitably rough.

There was a mention of the upcoming United States presidential debate and how ‘House of Cards’ was written about the last election and that it is still relevant today. The crowd followed up by losing their shit to the popular song. Faintest Idea mixed up their set with some old and new tracks, from ‘Bully Boy’ and ‘Too Bad’ to ‘Youth’ and ‘Corporation’. A twist to the set came with a couple of covers, including Bob Marley‘s ‘Don’t Worry About A Thing’ and Toots and Maytal‘s ’54-46 Was My number’. The crowd loved it all, skanking hard and singing along, moshing to the harder segments.

A highlight came when Millie Manders joined the band on stage to perform ‘Bull In A Chinashop’ amongst a few other tracks, filling in for the missing saxophone on the night. Manders looked nervous but performed the pieces valiantly. It wasn’t the wildest set we’ve seen from the band this year, but it’s been equally as enjoyable. Once again Faintest Idea remains one of the tightest acts and they never fail to impress. It was a great end to an awesome night of ska and reggae, every band put in a solid effort. We can look forward to more of these ska-fueled events from Our Bookings in the future.

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The event was hosted by Our Bookings