Having seen Less Than Jake rock the Leeds leg of the Carling Weekend in 2002 it was intriguing to see how they would perform in front of just 2000 people as opposed to 50,000.
Three support acts were on display, the first, Allister were fairly poor, but as they frequently announced “it’s our first time in the UK” – so I’ll let them off, after all it is quite cold over here, I suppose.
Teen Idol came, played and didn’t quite take over the way the Romans did when they first visited the North East, but they went one step further than Allister, winning the crowd over towards the end of their set.
Next on the bill were Pietasters – who simply epitomised the show. It’s amazing how many different songs you can write about “getting really fucking wasted” but these guys are testing the limits with songs such as Maggie Mae.
The crowd lapped it up, enjoying the fusion of ska, reggae and straight up rock – it was all about skanking, and everyone was smiling, a welcome break from the aggressive nature of a Geordie moshpit.
Less Than Jake arrived to a hilarious intro which set the tone for a brilliant, yet punishing set – pit circles were demanded, excessive alcohol consumption to celebrate Roger’s (bass) birthday was necessary – and all in the name of fun.
This was by no means a greatest hit set, which one could expect from veterans of over 100 releases but a preview for upcoming album Anthem and as promo for current single She’s Gonna Break Soon. The boys also included crowd pleasers such as Gainesville Rock City and closing song All My Best Friends are Metal Heads.
Less Than Jake don’t conform to anything other than doing whatever they want, from taking a beer break on stage to comparing the crowd’s silence to a Japanese audience – and that’s what makes it fun. There’s none of this scripted “you’re the best crowd we’ve ever had” (for want of a better word) bollocks – just people on stage, playing music and having fun.
You don’t have to love the music to enjoy Less Than Jake in concert – in fact don’t buy their stuff. Just get out and see them live!