LIVE: King Prawn @ The Craufurd Arms, Milton Keynes (18/11/2013)

Date: November 18th, 2013
Venue: The Craufurd Arms, Milton Keynes
Support: Anti-Vigilante / Clay Pigeon
Website: None available


In December 2003, King Prawn played their final farewell show before breaking up at The Pitz Club in Milton Keynes. The ska-punk-hip-hop veterans fittingly return to the town on their first tour almost a decade later, this time at the rapidly growing venue, The Craufurd Arms. Although the band are without popular bassist Babar Luck this time round, they’ve returned with an extended brass section and, after a string of festival dates in 2013, they’re well rehearsed and ready to carry on from where they left off.

London punk rockers Clay Pigeon (****) confidently open the show with their fun ska influenced punk rock, yet only a handful of people are in early enough to see the likes of the excellent ‘Some Go Stealing’ and ‘Luck & Chance & Gambling’. The three-piece excel through half an hour of groove bass heavy entertaining tracks and deservedly see the venue much busier by the time set finisher ‘Circles’ is roaring from the stage.

A rare hometown show for Milton Keynes hardcore punks Anti-Vigilante (**) proves to be as energetic as always. The boys proudly add an aggressive punch into the evening of ska with high knees and elbows hitting the ceiling between heavy breakdowns and saxophone segments. Hopefully just warming up as it’s their first night of the tour, but they’re slightly off their best yet the quality of latest album ‘Tempest’ shines through with ‘Be On The Watch’ and big single ‘Go Outside And Play’ standing out.

There’s no doubt that King Prawn (****) were highly influential within the British ska scene before they disbanded, and it’s encouraging to see a room full of older and younger fans alike still enjoying the band after ten years away. Bursting into ‘Bitter Taste’, vocalist Al Rumjen brings back hundreds of memories for the crowd without it seeming like ten years since the band have toured the country. ‘Caught Inna Rut’ and ‘Racist Copper’ continue the reggae hip-hop hybrid party before ‘Bring Down The House’ picks up the pace for the dancing pit. Big fan favourite, ‘The Dominant View’, kicks in after its iconic trumpet intro is followed by a huge cheer from the skanking floor, but no screams are louder tonight than when Rumjen smashes into ‘Surrender To The Blender’ classic ‘Day In Day Out’ to end the main set with their top single.

“Smoke That Shit! Smoke That Shit!” echoes around The Craufurd Arms until the band reluctantly give into the crowd demand, triggering a chilled out sing-a-long to the smoking song. A completely different style follows as Rage Against The Machine style anthem ‘Not Your Punk’ gets a rowdy reaction and proves to be just as fresh and relevant as it was 15 years ago. King Prawn close their triumphant Milton Keynes return with their first ever single, ‘Poison In The Air’, and the crowd manage to squeeze one last skank into the ska fuelled night to let King Prawn know that they’re always welcome back to their town.

Written by Mike Heath