25 years into their rollercoaster career, and California’s Lagwagon display no signs of weakness. It’s clear that their popularity hasn’t taken a bump in recent years, as they currently set out on a monster 21-date headline tour across the UK and Europe in support of latest release, ‘Hang’. Tonight sees support from fellow label buddies, Western Addiction and The Flatliners, providing a diverse bill of stateside punk rock.
Openers Western Addiction (****) open with a bang, despite initially performing to a vacant venue. Sounding just as brutal as on record, the band delve into material from their acclaimed debut ‘Cognicide’ and recent EPs ‘Pine’ and ‘I’m Not The Man I Thought I’d Be’. Vocalist Jason Hall excites the fans by throwing himself onto the barrier and diving straight into a vicious mosh pit. The band succeed in setting the bar extremely high, with a high-energy performance, worthy of comparison to hardcore punks Black Flag and Minor Threat.
The Flatliners (***) struggle to reach the same scope of excellence. By now, fans have flooded into the venue and filled the floor, creating a more engaging atmosphere. The band offer a nice contrast of screams and shouts, and appeal to the audience’s soft spot for a more melodic brand of punk rock, similar to the likes of The Gaslight Anthem and The Loved Ones.
Headliners Lagwagon (****) make a bold first impression, parading on stage to a surprising choice of The A-Team theme music, as well as sporting heads full of neon blue and yellow hair. Guitarist Chris Flippin seizes every opportunity to mock the The Blackout‘s farewell tour date that is concurrently taking place upstairs. The setlist sees plenty of fan favorites, such as ‘Violins’ and ‘Alien 8’, enticing the whole venue to start jumping and dancing, slamming the front row straight into the crowd barrier. ‘Sleep’ is a highlight of the band’s inevitable encore, and is filled with abrupt blasts of punk rock energy. Unfortunately, the band’s potential 24 track setlist is cut short due to the university’s strict noise curfew. But, despite the slightly reduced running time, Lagwagon were still able to deliver a performance that proved that they hadn’t lost the spark that made fans fall in love with them in the first place.
Written by Kieran Harris