Originally published in London Student Newspaper December 2011.

In an interview prior to the concert, Capdown bassist Boob told us how this was a “back to our roots tour”, warning us to expect “Sweat, thrash, double time… more of the older, quicker stuff”. He was not exaggerating.

After a warm up show at the Purple Turtle across the road consisting of sets from Tyrannosaurus Alan, Anti Vigilante and Jonny One Lung (of Filaments fame) amongst others, excited fans stream into the large-capacity Koko. Unlike most concerts, the venue is already filling up nicely right from the beginning, providing the first support band JB Conspiracy with an ample audience. They kick proceedings off successfully with their familiar style of energetic ska, effectively demonstrating why they were chosen as a last-minute replacement for Mouthwash. They were soon followed with a raucous set from UK street punkers The Filaments, executing their more memorable tracks from What’s Next with bounding style and energy. As they departed, the crowd swelled intensely in anticipation of The Skints.

The boys from MK - ska at its finest!

The Skints, fronted by multi-instrumentalist Marcia Richards, provided necessary respite from the punk fuelled pits so far. But that is not to say that the audience were given time to relax. Instead we are treated to an impressive offering of reggae and dub, giving us an opportunity to dance the night away. Although deliciously varied, the magical combination of tonight’s support bands manages to create an atmosphere ideal for the headliners, UK ska veterans, Capdown. If you take the best of everything on show so far: the bouncy brass of JB Conspiracy, the thrashy punk of The Filaments and the melodic reggae of The Skints, then you may begin to understand what Capdown are about.

The boys from Milton Keynes close their tour having played various dates in the UK, including successful billings at Reading and Leeds festivals. They take to the stage looking somewhat unassuming, but everyone here knows what they are about to witness.  Having clarified that this will be the band’s last show for a while at least, expectations are almost impossibly high but somehow they manage to surpass them with typical ease. In a high octane set Capdown give the audience exactly what they are here to see. In fact, lead singer and saxophonist Jake proudly declares that “We like to think we are nothing if not predictable”, before caving in to the audiences chants for crowd-favourite ‘Ska Wars’. Audience satisfaction is the name of the game,  the band delivering all of their iconic tracks including ‘Cousin Cleotis’, ‘Pound for the Sound’ and ‘A – Political Stand of Reasons’, the latter accompanied by a vicious wall of death, Jake firmly rooted in the middle. Each song is executed with traditional Capdown fervour, the boys far from stationary throughout the show. Showing nothing of their aging over the last 10 years since the release of Civil Disobedients, they masterfully own what can easily be an overshadowing stage.

Jake packs some sax!

Aside from the musical proficiency on offer, the night is not without its comedy. At one point, Jake assumes the role of Busted frontman Charlie Simpson, commanding “I am your monobrowed leader”, soon dropping into sing along classic ‘Bitches and Nike Shoes’. Perhaps the most memorable moment of the evening comes just before the band belted out ‘Faith No More’, the opening track from Pound for the Sound. All four members gathered together to take a group photo in front of the capacity audience. Having filled out Koko, no mean feat especially when they are, in their own words, “a band that doesn’t really exist”, Capdown clearly haven’t let fame go to their heads. With no ego or pomp, the personal gratification of playing live is evident from start to finish. They obviously cherish every opportunity they have to play amongst fans and friends alike, emphasised significantly by their notable absence of late. Having witnessed Capdown play live over the last 10 years there is one thing that remains consistent in their sets: Raw energy as a product of intense personal excitement. It’s this very reason why they have managed to retain such a loyal following, and we sincerely hope that they will be back for more sometime soon.

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