Minuteman @ The Bull & Gate, Kentish Town
18 January 2005
It is three years since Minuteman released their only album, Resigned to Life, so tonight’s set is dominated by more recent material. Oddly however, main-man Matt Jones quickly apologises for not playing any new tunes.
It’s strange that if these songs have been in the set-list for long enough to elicit an apology that a follow up album hasn’t been recorded. The ‘new’ songs, particularly Dig Deep and One at a Time, sound at least equal to the tunes on their under-appreciated debut album. Both songs prove that big choruses will always impress a crowd.
If it hasn’t happened already album standout Big Boy is an advertising soundtrack waiting to be discovered by the execs. It is impressive that they manage to inject freshness into an old crowd favourite. Big Boy sums up how Minuteman manage to play rock music turned up to eleven without resorting to parody or overdosing on clichs.
Judging from the enthusiastic welcome received by everyone who entered the building, the small venue is tightly packed with close personal friends of the band. This bonhomie creates a warmth and intimacy that is often missing on the despised pub gig circuit. The atmosphere is even sufficiently relaxed for that rarest thing - genuinely amusing banter between band members.
The thirty minute full band performance closes with a slow-burning instrumental climax. Jones is on his knees still playing keyboards, which are precariously balanced on beer crates. It may be one of the greatest injustices in music that a band built for stadium rock are stuck at the back of a North London boozer with just three crates and the truth.