7 03 2002

London Astoria 07.03.02

The first time I saw A was four years ago in the old Liverpool Lomax, it was chaos, kids were bouncing off the walls, it was like setting off a ton of sherbet-flavoured semtex in a shoebox. It was the greatest thing I’ve ever seen.

Since then I’ve seen A shit-loads of times and they’ve never once disappointed. Even so, It’s a bit weird to see the world finally catch on. They’re on telly and everything, and tonight they’ve sold out the Astoria. Fair enough, they’ve always harboured stadium-sized ambitions, and they’ve certainly got the tunes for it. They kick off with ‘Took it Away,’ perhaps a slightly sedate choice when they possess anthems like ‘Monkey Kong’ which later on kicks the entire crowd six foot in the air from a standing start. The beautifully crafted and soaring singalongs from Hi-Fi Serious like ‘6 O’clock’ and ‘Going Down’ are wicked, even if live they lack the raw punk edge of older tunes like ‘Bad Idea,’ which as always has the same effect as injecting a cocktail of amphetamine and sherbet dips directly into your brain. This is stadium A, a streamlined whirl of sing-along Police-meets-Van Halen chart-shagging genius. ‘Shut Yer Face’ is fantastic, ‘The Distance’ rocks like a rhino, ‘Starbucks’ goes off in technicolour. They get to the gap in ‘I Love Lake Tahoe’, the lights are down, the air is filled with bubbles, the whole crowd starts singing, and when the band come back in it’s the first day of summer again. For the encore it’s the moment half the crowd have been waiting for: top ten single ‘Nothing’ kicks off and nearly takes off the roof. Then it’s the moment the other half of the crowd have been waiting for: the screaming punk rock divebomb ‘Foghorn’ sends the pit apeshit. Singer Jason Perry is in the crowd and then it’s over. I’m fucking knackered – it’s hard work being sixteen again. One wicked night: brought to you by the letter A.

See photos from this gig at a-communication.com.
This review first appeared on uelsu.net.