Any band that uses Twisted Sister’s ‘The Kids Are Back’ as their intro is sure to garner my attention and that is exactly what The City Kids did and got. As the intro tape came to a conclusion a crunching guitar riff reverberated through the PA and boom, I was hooked.
This was eye catching and ear pleasing from the off. The bands line up of JJ Watt (vocals and guitar), Dennis Post (guitar), Berty Burton (bass) and Dave Saunders (drums) will be familiar to most from the other acts they are in, which includes The Main Grains, Tigertailz, Warrior Soul and The Falling Red. Those links and that familiarity meant that the arena was packed and the band were given a rousing reception. Going from ‘Best of You’ their opener, straight into ‘Before You Fall’ and then ‘Filth’ was a no nonsense, energetic and awe-inspiring start.
This was truly captivating stuff and I could not take my eyes off the stage. This is what I really love about festivals, you know what you are going to get from some of the bands and then boom, unexpectedly you got caught with a right hook from an act that knocks you to the floor with the power and precision of their music. This was one of those moments!
‘Alone’, ‘Left Behind’ and new single ‘Heartbreak’ followed before the punk fuelled, trashy guitar driven rock of ‘It Should Have Been You’ with its crunching riff and pounding bass line filled the o2 air. If that wasn’t a moment to savour then a rabble rousing version of The Wildhearts ‘Mazel Tov Cocktail’ sure was. The band, singing in unison and the crowd, who have clearly brought their singing voices today, are taking this to the next level.
Oh man, what a moment! That is followed by a fast and furious ‘All I Want’ before bassist Berty Burton, resplendent in a NWOCR t-shirt takes centre stage to bring a moment of calmness and reflection to proceedings. He uses the moment to raise a glass and get heartfelt applause for the heroes we have recently lost, namely Charlie Watts, Dusty Hill and Joey Jordensen to name a few. As the crowd raise their glasses as one, the band play ‘No More Heroes’, a poignant and heartfelt moment for sure.
After that beautiful few minutes of calm, it is time to get back to the business of rocking out in serious fashion and boy do they do that with ‘Scars’. There is some serious riffage in the tune and man alive the work from the rhythm section of Sanders and Burton is just insane.
The song may be under 4 minutes but is such a frenzied attack of punk fuelled rock and roll heaven , my legs are tapping so ferociously, at the end of it, they feel like they have been on a decent run. You should dance, proclaims Watt as the band play ‘You Wanna’ another number built around a solidly infectious beat that is chest melting and leg controlling.
Billy Tee from the Suicide Notes joins the band onstage for ‘Rats’, which he forewarns is a very sweary song. He delivers the angst fuelled lyrics with real punky aggression. This is trashy, sleazy rock, the like of which just gets inside your head and your body. If anybody in the venue was not properly awake before that, they sure were now. ‘You Get Nothing’ leads into ‘Round and (A)round, the bands final song.
The power in the set closer must surely have put a serious drain on the national grid and as I sat watching I wrote down three words, “Fuck, Fuck, Fuck”. The set from The City Kids was insanely good and they instantly found at least one new fan. I hope it is not too long before I get another dose of The City Kids draw-dropping rock n roll, but whenever it is it will be too long. They are on tour with The Suicide Notes on October, take a chance and go check them out. It will be hot, it will be sweaty, it will be loud, it will be raucous but it will be bloody good.
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