TVD Live Shots: The Adicts at the O2 Islington Academy, 6/28

One of the many things I love about living in London is the fact that I get to see so many of bands from the original punk movement play live in their native environment. The story of punk in London is littered with stories of the best of the best; the Pistols, The Clash, The Damned, The Ruts, The Slits, and of course The Adicts.

A staple of the early ’80s London punk scene and indie charts alike, The Adicts set themselves apart from the onslaught of punk bands by focusing not only on the songs but also on their image. The group wears all-white clothing with black boots and black bowler hats. Frontman Keith “Monkey” Warren sports equally comical and frightening joker makeup, flamboyant checkerboard and polka dot suits, flared trousers, along with the bowler hat and gloves. Their live show quickly became a spectacle of its own as the band complimented their visual style with the likes of novelty items such as streamers, confetti, playing cards, joker hats, toy instruments, and glitter.

I’ve never seen the band live, so when the chance came to catch them at the very cool O2 Islington Academy I jumped on it. The Adicts were recently signed to Nuclear Blast (kudos to NB for being such a fresh and forward thinking label, by the way) and released And it was So!, their tenth studio album, and it’s garnered a slew of positive reviews.

Not a lot of punk bands, or any groups for that matter, can have a 40 year plus career and still look to be in their prime. The Adicts somehow discovered the punk rock fountain of youth which is not only showcased in their recent videos to support the new record, but even live I thought to myself, how old are these guys? They looked fantastic on stage. Maybe it was a couple of drinks impairing my vision a bit, but these guys not only had the energy of their prime in the ’80s, but their Clockwork Orange style dress makes them appear ageless.

The O2 Islington was pretty jammed for this gig as the band hit the stage for what would be a twenty-two song magnum opus of a setlist—a brilliant mix of old and new, along with the antics that have made the band a punk rock household name. Classics such as “Viva La Revolution” and “Joke in the Pack” felt right at home between newer songs such as “Gimme Something to Do” and my personal favorite “Fucked Up World.” Bottom line here is that The Adicts look and sounded fantastic and still have quite a bit of life left in them and a lot to say. If you have a chance to see these legends live don’t hesitate, and do yourself a favor and pick up the new record on black vinyl, it’s stellar.

It’s always fun to see who will be in the audience at these classic punk rock shows, and at this one UK Subs singer Charlie Harper walked past me in the photo pit just before the band took to the stage. Speaking of the UK Subs, they just released a killer new record of cover songs called Subversions in tandem with a UK tour later this year. It will be interesting to see if The Adicts return the favor in 2018 which begs the question, what’s been the largest gathering of UK punk rock legends in one club over the past few years? There’s certainly an opportunity to make it happen.

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