Live: Rancid @ UEA, Norwich (10/12/2012)

Rancid at the UEA gig ticket

Rancid

Infa Riot – Argy Bargy

‘For 20 years we’ve been playing punk rock for the skinheads, the punk rockers, the hardcore kids, anyone who wants to come out and see us’ says Tim Armstrong, sporting such a beard that even a woodsman would want to go trimming.

It’s the kind of straight-talking statement that one might expect of these veterans of the punk rock scene. And 20 years on music fans of all shapes and varieties are still turning out to see Rancid say their piece.

Clearing the UEA’s throat are Argy Bargy (7/10) who look like they were angry punks in youth, and are still angry punks today. In fact they seem to have more of an axe to grind than the majority of today’s generation, which given the state of the country is no mean feat. Then again they didn’t have Youtube, Facebook, and Grumpy Cat meme’s turning their brains soft and compliant. Elbowing its way into the crowd without so much as a please or thank you, their oi/street punk may not go anywhere new but it follows a merry path getting there.

Sounding almost quiet after Argy Bargy, Infa Riot (5/10) clearly have some fans in the crowd but the incessant name dropping of Lars (Rancid) to illicit some kind of response comes across as oh-so-desperate. Their own repetitive ‘Infa’ chant on the other hand draws a blank. Mostly though they suffer from being the slightly bland filling between their more dynamic peers Argy Bargy’s, and Rancid’s amongst-friends honesty. Like opening up your sandwich to find it spread with only butter and disappointment.

With voices warmed up, it’s time for Rancid to do the talking, and it seems two decades has not even begun to see their roar become a whisper. (9/10) Unlike some of those they might have started out with Rancid have never seemed to lose their popularity, or credibility, which is perhaps why so many still turn up to listen.

Their songs may not be particularly long, but by damn Rancid are determined to pack them in – there’s no long chats about the weather taking up time here, just cast-iron hit after hit levelled at the crowd until you can hear them clanking off the floor. Putting the boot well into proceedings ‘Roots Radicals’ gives way to ‘Radio’, ‘The Way I Feel About You’, ‘East Bay Night’, a slick smooth guitar switch into the “Dial 999” of ‘Maxwell Murder’, shout-it-out ‘Rejected’, the almost-gentile ‘Old Friend’ – forget Poundland, this is value for money at its finest.

Even new track ‘Fuck You’ with its more rock n roll feel is welcomed like an old friend. The genius, as always, is in the apparent simplicity of the lyrics and halfway through the crowd are already singing along. Rancid have this knack of putting a story, situation or feeling across in a way that most can immediately identify with, all in just a few hundred seconds window.

As the night progresses it becomes apparent that Rancid don’t do a standard ‘greatest hits’ set, because you’re reminded just how many good songs this band are responsible for  – it’s impossible for them all to be fitted into a set even as tightly packed as this one. Making the cut though are some firm favourites including ‘Listed MIA’, ‘I Wanna Riot’, ‘Olympia WA’, ‘Adina’, ‘She’s Automatic’, and ‘Fall Back Down’, which gets a particularly rousing reception. Such is the camaraderie that you almost feel the band would extend a hand if someone was to get up close with the ground.

Despite the mammoth number of songs torn through, it still seems that the encore of ‘Time Bomb’, ‘Avenues & Alleyways’, and ‘Ruby Soho’ has rolled around too soon. But although silence has had to fall for tonight, it’s clear that as long as Rancid have something to say, there’ll be someone pricking up their ears.

Kirsty Birkett-Stubbs

Freelance writer. Most likely found in a mosh pit. Or maybe Bat Country.

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