Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Crime and Punishment 2011 + Better Than Never + Smart Casual Live Review. The Flapper 13/5/16

Smart Casual
You may have noticed that I've been giving a lot of free press to a band called Crime and Punishment 2011. While they divide opinion like few bands to hit Birmingham's music scene in a long time. The hype is building as Friday the 13th of may was their first ever headline show. Far from being unlucky, this turned out to be a decent night. Before all that though the first band on was Worcester pop-punk kids Bathtub who opened the night with their first ever Birmingham show. Afterwards came my faves Smart Casual, as I've pointed out before the fanbase of this band feels more like a minor cult than a usual fan following. It feels a bit odd listening to pop-punk music if you are sober or over the age of 14 and if you are in the Flapper at 7ish on a friday night  you're likely to be the former. However none of this bothered Smart Casual's fans. Right from the start, a small group of dedicated nutters were dancing about, while slightly more reserved people like me stood there and raised our fists and shouted along to the 'whoaaa-ohhs'.
Smart Casual's take on pop punk has a lot of nods towards heavy metal. Whether that be in Talbot's snare heavy drumming or the shredding of their guitar solos. What's really exciting about Smart Casual is how many great songs they have despite being such a new band. Such as the anthemic 'Festival Girl', the empowering 'Take back the power' and 'Keep you around' which Colin (their singer) admitted isabout getting over his ex. The best part was his total surprise at seeing Crime and Punishment 2011's Joey Sniper steal his mic for a quick scream. Later on Dan Carter took the mic to channel his inner Fred Durst for Smart Casuals obligatory cover of Limp Bizkit's 'Take a look around' which had the crowd erupt into a frenzy of violent moshing. 
While I'm a fan of Smart Casual I'm not really a fan of Pop-punk in general. So I didn't like Better Than Never as much. But like Smart Casual they seem to have a small but very enthusiastic crowd. Their singer jumped about the place in a pair of running shorts, kind of like Enter Shikari used to do. There's nothing hugely original about their sound but it was fun to say the least.
Understandably Crime and Punishment 2011 were a bit nervous about playing their first headline show. Especially with more established acts lower on the bill. Jason, started the show with a short DJ set which was reminiscent of his old Pink Violence solo material, with his face hidden by a massive parka. The ethereal Crystal Castles style electronica made a stark contrast to the dark trap/grime style beats used by Crime and Punishment 2011. By now The Flapper seems to be quite used to their mix of heavy sampled guitars, and grime style bars. So it was the perfect place for them to be. Their trap flavoured banger 'Paralysed' off their second EP 'Null' got things off to a heavy start, with Joey and Dan prowling around the room screaming and rapping.  By now I'm pretty used to  seeing them perform but it must still be a pretty strange experience for newcomers. For the first song or two they managed to stay on-stage, but not much later Joey and Dan walked back and forth in front of the crowd and Joey leaped on the bar to do a bit more screaming there.
Going to a Crime and Punishment 2011 show feels like one of those horror mazes, you never know when one of them is going to jump out of the dark and yell at you. The new material is their darkest yet They played two cover versions. Dan announced that they'd either play an old song that they all hate (House of pain) or a cover. The cover ended up being 'The Hills by The Weeknd. Their version happens to be a lot heavier, replacing the drops and and sultry croons of the original with heavy metal guitars and more rapping/screaming. To make things even better they ended the show with one more cover, which was a brilliant take on Shutdown by Skepta. I'd only seen Skepta play it live himself a few days ago and it was fantastic being able to hear it being played live again. It's so easy to join in and try to rap along, and the small crowd erupted into more moshing about. I started a chant of 'BBK! and even got my own little shout-out on stage. Backstage they were buzzing, it's strange to think they were ever nervous in the first place.


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