The Fighting Cocks is rife with anticipation. The air is thick with heat before a single note has even been played. People pile onto the sofas taking up the left side of the room just to grasp at a better glimpse at the possible chaos that is going to ensue. Then through the masses a hooded gentleman parts the crowd, takes the microphone in hand and delivers the first what will be many daunting howls. The reaction is instant and bodies fly from all directions just for a piece of the action. The temperature goes from uncomfortable to unbearable within a matter of chords.
This is the third show Letlive. have played in the capital this weekend and it is the smallest, sweatiest and most staggering of the bunch.
First up though, one of the frontrunners in the shape of punk to come category. Within a moment of hesitation and chance to breath, Youth Man provides 25 minutes of rampant and restless noise to oil the cogs. Harrowingly tight and thoroughly unpredictable, the trio plays with a strong connection and knowledge of each other’s expertise that transforms the brash chords and clattering drums they conjure into some wholly grooving punk rock. (3.5/5)
Ultimately tonight is Letlive. going full circle. As the weekend has progressed, the venues they have played in London have moved further and further towards their beginnings, and tonight feels the most organic and homely of the trio. The Fighting Cocks is one of the first venues the band played when they made their first trip over the pond and vocalist Jason Butler is very aware of all of its cracks and crevices. Climbing on the amp and screaming into his own output on a bludgeoning ‘Empty Elvis’ before making his way into the ceiling and leaping for hopes of being caught during a ferocious ‘Younger’ are just highlights of a set that levels up in intensity as it goes on. The temperature continues to rise as the crowd responds to Butler’s antics by creating a little carnage of their own. The “NO STAGE DIVING” sign scrawled above the stage is more times than not covered by hands and feet trying to keep balance as they ride over the heads of the crowd while the flurry of movement at the centre of the room doesn’t even stop when the music fades. The biggest reaction of the night goes to new song ‘Good Mourning America’ which demonstrates the level of anticipation that is placed on the shoulders of the band’s upcoming effort. Within the folds of the chaos though, there is still room for that piercing sentimentality that Letlive. have become renowned for. ‘Muther’ is still a heart wrenching sight for Butler as the room front to back scream the haunting words back like they were written just for them, while ‘Day 54’ still has the power to make even the most steady of souls lose their mind for 6 desolating minutes.
As the stage disappears due to 50 or so revelers invading it for the harmonic climax of ‘Renegade ‘68’, the evening’s performance draws to a dramatic close. People bolt for the exit for a breath of fresh air but also a moment of quiet reflection on what they have just been a part of. In every sense of the word, tonight was special. The rise and continued rise of Letlive. is something to be applauded and to be able to still deliver with the same level of humanity, humility and honesty in the rooms that they cut their teeth in as well as on the bigger stage is nothing to turn ones nose at. On the eve of releasing the album that will surely see them burrow even deeper into the hearts and minds of everyone who hears it, tonight was a fitting reminder to never forget your roots and when you do revisit them, make sure you absolutely own it. (5/5)
Words by Jack Rogers (@JackMRog)