Captain Everything

support Action Hank + Pickled Dick
author PP date 30/10/05 venue University Of Surrey, Guildford, UK

University of Surrey isn't known to have the biggest nor the best bands stopping by. Instead, the university has gained a slightly infamous status of receiving some of the best bands the underground has to offer, before the bands make it really big. The Darkness played here during their early career, 3dBs Down played two weeks ago, and tonight it was Captain Everything's speedy pop punk that captivated the listeners. It is common for the standing area to be less than half full, so it was unusual to see it fill up slowly but surely for Captain Everything.

Action Hank

Action Hank opened the night by playing some sort of horrible, horrible Mambo/Circus rock, remotely resembling ska, but yet not achieving the party-sound associated with ska. From start to finish everything went wrong. Their singer was the only one who attempted to put on a show at all, but he was trying way too hard. He simply jumped and danced around the stage without any regard to the beats, their sound or anything at all. On top of that, before each songs he revealed what each of them were about, and if you tell the crowd "This is a song I wrote about a girl who I wanted to have sex with, who didn't wanna have sex with me, which is why she is a slut, which was 10 years ago" or "This song is based on a science essay I once wrote" you are guaranteed to fail. I know it's a harsh review, but tonight Action Hank didn't have neither quality, quantity nor energy on stage. And what's up with a FLUTE?


Pickled Dick

Pickled Dick, on the other hand, put on a great show. Their happy pop punk in the vein of early Green Day and Frenzal Rhomb combined with sheer quality won them a good handful of new fans tonight. Especially "Ship Ahoy" made a big impression on me and the rest of the crowd. If you've ever seen Reel Big Fish live, you know how they handle pauses in music, and by the looks and sounds of it, Pickled Dick has seen some of their shows. The band put on a laugh-out-loud comedy show in between songs with their guitarist and bassist talking to each other on stage, telling sarcastic jokes like "Hey, we're playing at a a bunch of fucking students. You're all a bunch of fucking students you hear me! You don't do drugs or drink alcohol or anything like that!", which triggered constant laughter from the crowd. Near the end of their set, they actually had to remind the crowd "We're not actually a comedy band.. we're Pickled Dick, a pop punk band!", to which the reaction was more laughter. It would be hard to imagine them as a serious band, especially after the Claudio Sanchez-haired guitarist turned around and stared at the big screen: "Hey look, we're being filmed. That's cool!", followed by a bunch of ridiculous movements to test out whether he could see himself doing them in real time.


Captain Everything

But tonight was all about Captain Everything. You'd have to hire Sherlock himself to find a pop punk band faster than Captain Everything. Their new drummer, previously of Grebo-fame, is probably the fastest drummer i've seen live to date, and same can be said about their guitarist and bassist. Fair enough, their songs are three chorded and relatively easy to play, but they play them faster than you could ever imagine. And even though the chords might be simple, the difficulty suddenly increases exponentially when you jump around the stage like a maniac, while still being able to play as fast as on the studio albums. Much like Pickled Dick, their set was a big comedy show. During the slow parts of "I'd Rather Have a Full Bottle in Front of Me Than a Full Frontal Lobotomy", where the crowd has a chance to sing "Woooo-hooo", the band insisted to the crowd "We're not a big band, we don't wanna hear you crowd sing or anything. We like to pretend like nobody knows us so don't sing along!". Of course, this wasn't going to happen, so the band got (humorously) pissed off at the crowd, and at the next "woo-hoo" the whole room was silent. "It's tense. Should we try to make it more tense?" and the band didn't say anything for two minutes, they just stared at the crowd. "See, that's tense! It was pretty cool though. Lets try it again!" followed by the same procedure. The whole comedy show was crowned by the drummer taking all of his clothes off except his... superman speedos. This resulted in both the guitarist and bassist to literally crack up and fall to the ground laughing for at least two minutes. Once one of them was finally able to stand up, he announced "that just made my week right there". Three songs before the end, the drummer shouted to the guys "Hey when are we finished I want a beer!", all adding up to the comic effect. Their set was long and entertaining. At no point did I feel like "hmm, when are they going to stop", but instead it was more like "I wish they won't stop anytime soon". The band went through most of their back catalogue including almost all of the best songs from "It's Not Rocket Science", featuring such hits as "Chance Of A Lunchtime", "Problem With Numbers" and "Kalimbah!". As the final cherry on top of the ice cream, the stage was invaded by roughly twenty members of the crowd during their last song, creating a circle pit in the middle of the band. Some of the crowd members went to singing with the band, giving the show that little bit extra to make it worth a niner.


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