Band – Goldfinger
Support – Some complete pony of a band
Venue – Islington Academy (they have air conditioning!)
Price – Ã‚Â£14
Beer – LOL
I’ll be honest; I half expected to be the oldest one at this gig tonight, save for the band themselves. A ska punk show with a 10 o’clock curfew? Shouldn’t have to queue for the bar then! I couldn’t have been more wrong it seems. Much like myself and my two friends, a lot of 20+ year olds obviously wanted to see if 4 aging California skate-punks still had it.
You have to admire Goldfinger; for a band with all 4 members all well into their 40’s, they’re still playing ska-punk – a genre that is often regarded among indie music circles to be about as popular as a pig’s head at a synagogue. However, they can’t be faulted for the passion and vigour they have when thrashing out hit after hit, regardless of the genre they have been lumped with. One thing’s for sure; Goldfinger fucking rock and there’s no getting away from that. Before the James Bond loving quartet take to the stage, Keep It Fast has to endure the unmitigated shite of the one of the support bands.
Obviously this band had taken notes from Fuckshovel who I’d recently endured as a support for the wonderful Jaguar Love several months ago. I should have got a medal for that, or at least reparations. I spent the entire set shouting “turn your guitar on” as all I could hear was the most horrendous distorted fuzz, coupled with some rather muggy drumming and some awful caterwauling from the lead singer. I don’t suppose I should blame it on the band though, it’s the soundman that should take the brunt of the abuse for being a tone-deaf moron. On what planet did he think this band sounded good with this set up? It was appauling. Islington Academy is, from what I gather, a ‘proper’ biggish venue, so you should at least expect the band to sound slightly coherent and not like they’re playing in a room full of crashmats, whilst smashing their drumkit apart with chainsaws. The one redeeming feature was the slow song they played near the end (mainly because the drummer wasn’t deafening everyone) but even that got tiresome as I weighted for the inevitable ‘he’s-building-up-to-the-noisy-heavy-bit’ which seemed like several thousand years before it hit home. Painful.
Thank god for Goldfinger really. Either the soundman got over his retardo phase or they brought their own; as the levels for the rest of the night were pretty much spot on.
They come on to the always humorous fake phone call track that they used to end their first album and launch straight into ‘Spokesmanâ€™ from their vegan album, ‘Open Your Eyes.â€™ The response is nothing short of complete pandemonium, as the crowd rushes the barrier with such force, Iâ€™m temporarily stunned. I finally regain my composure as the opening drumbeats to ‘Counting The Daysâ€™ kick in and soon Iâ€™m pogo-ing up and down like a ADD kid wolfing down coffee flavoured ice-cream. From then on, itâ€™s classic Goldfinger. They drag some kid up on stage to sing ‘Mableâ€™, who fails to even sing coherently or loudly let alone remember the words and the song is cut halfway through and more people are pulled up on stage to sing/dance/hug various members of the band for the closing verses.
Throughout the set, they keep the banter relatively light, with frontman John Feldmann telling us about his wife recently gave birth (â€œand the good news, itâ€™s mine!â€Â He adds.) He also talks about the return of estranged guitarist Charlie Paulson (who looks more and more like a serial killer crossed with an evil henchman) and proceeds to slag off both Portsmouth and Oxford (previous tour destinations, so a staple bit of ribbing that happens whenever an American band tours.) Shaven-haired bassist Kelly Lemieux is strangely quiet, i.e. no jokes about wanking and Doritos. Drummer ‘Dangerousâ€™ Darrin Pfeiffer once again gets his arse cheeks out and invites a member of the audience (some chump in a Reel Big Fish t-shirt) to eat a twinky from his crack. The ‘wall of deathâ€™ he then demands is somewhat lacklustre, but you canâ€™t have everything. Also, Darrin loses points for not doing a X-Factor worthy version of ‘Thong Songâ€™ or ‘Bootyliciousâ€™ â€â€œ come on dude, if youâ€™re still man enough to have food eaten from your anus, surely slamming down some rap grooves is a walk in the park?
The swear-a-thon that is ‘Fuck Ted Nugentâ€™ provides one of the most violent circle pits of the night and one I somewhat wimpishly step away from (hey, Iâ€™ve already lost 2 pairs of glasses due to excessive dancing, thereâ€™s no way Iâ€™m losing another pair that made me nearly cry when I was told how much theyâ€™d cost.) Even the one new track they played, (‘Get Upâ€™) went down well, packed with upbeat ska-guitar and the odd horn flourish.
Other set highlights include the anthems ‘Here In Your Bedroomâ€™ and Tony Hawkâ€™s favourite, ‘Supermanâ€™ complete with saxophone and some of the most exuberant skanking of the night. The punk rock fury of ‘Miles Awayâ€™ cements Goldfingerâ€™s reputation as one of the finest bands of their genre â€â€œ big sing-along choruses, huge choppy riffs and chanting = bliss. The selection of covers they dip into for the encore, include ‘White Christmasâ€™ (bizarre), Operation Ivyâ€™s ‘Knowledgeâ€™ (odd school-ska), ‘Feels Like Making Loveâ€™ (utter chaos for those in the circle pit when the chorus kicks in) and biting version of their own track ‘Iâ€™m Downâ€™ before launching into their trademark closer, â€™99 Red Balloonsâ€™ â€â€œ with German vocals and the chugging guitar-filled outro.
Goldfinger â€â€œ have they still got it? On the strength of this performance; fuck yeah. Ska punk is still kicking folks, whether you like it or not. Would have liked some ‘Chris Caytonâ€™ though.
By Ross Macdonald