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Live Review: Slam Dunk By The Sea, Guildhall, Southampton - 31/5/11

Due to a combination of the interesting band order and crazily early doors I arrived just in time to see Goldfinger take the stage, having missed Set Your Goals. (Who has a 6pm doors on a school night?!) The Californian punk legends played an almost identical set to that at the other previous Slam Dunk shows - even down to the between-song banter. However, unlike at Slam Dunk South there were no generator issues and the band went on to blast out the usual crowdpleasers like 'Superman', 'Here In Your Bedroom' and 'Open Your Eyes'.

It’s really hard to be positive about Anti Flag when they’re so negative as a band. Sure Goldfinger have their activist ways and a message to spread but thankfully it’s not so in-your-face as Anti Flag. They did, however, played a strong set of songs including 'Turncoat' and 'Die For Your Government' and a cover of The Clash’s 'Should I Stay Or Should I Go' that the fans seemed to love, but did little to win over the passing spectator with their preaching. Let’s be honest, “You’re gonna die for your country, that’s shit” aren’t exactly profoundly eloquent lyrics are they?

Despite being a band for the best part of 20 years, Less Than Jake have knack for keeping their live shows fresh and different. I’ve lost count how many times I’ve seen this band but no two shows ever feel the same. Perhaps it’s the fact they have such a selection of songs to choose from or the fact that they just love being on stage as much as they have since day one that resonates, but there’s no such thing as a bad Less Than Jake show.

Tonight saw them play a handful of songs that you don’t always see them play such as 'Al’s War' and 'How’s My Driving'. The classics such as 'All My Best Friends are Metalheads', 'Ghosts of Me & You' and 'Johnny Quest Thinks We’re Sellouts' were there accompanied by a bunch of songs from their last EP - the 'TV EP'. A cover EP of TV theme tunes and tonight the crowd were treated to the theme from 'Spongebob Squarepants' and a hardcore rendition of a McDonalds jingle with saxophonist JR keeping it metal on vocals.

After the gravitas of Anti Flag earlier in the evening it was refreshing to see a band who has the ability to laugh at themselves and don’t take themselves too seriously. Less Than Jake really is what music should be - fun - and judging from all the smiles brimming from the crowd’s faces as they dance the night away I'm obviously not alone in this thought.

Words by Chantelle "Kiki" Goodchild

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