Gig Review by Pete Williams with Photography by Helen Williams

Less Than Jake

Less Than Jake are regulars on these shores and their dedication to their UK fans surpasses most bands from across the pond. As a result they’ve built up a sizeable, dedicated fanbase, and it was great to see them returning for another tour.

Less Than Jake

This time the ska/punk old-timers brought Random Hand with them – a relatively young British ska band who draw on a range of influences from reggae to metal and from dub to hip hop. They’ve played with the likes of Voodoo Glow Skulls, Planet Smashers and Bad Manners, so they’re an established and successful band in their own right.

Less Than Jake

The first surprise of the night was the venue itself. The gig was in the Kasbah’s smaller room, unusual for a band who usually fill much larger venues. The room itself has undergone a revamp since the last time I visited, without, it would seem, much thought.

Less Than Jake

The stage is positioned off to one side between pillars and behind a ceiling beam, giving the strange sensation of watching bands playing in a different room. On the plus side there wasn’t more than a foot or two separating the band from the crowd, so we got an excellent close-up view.

Less Than Jake

Before long the place was completely packed out, showing that Less Than Jake can still put in the crowds. As it turned out, the smaller venue actually added to the atmosphere – the whole gig had a very intimate feel, with great interaction between the bands and audience.

Less Than Jake

Random Hand took to the stage first and got the night off to a brilliantly energetic start. Their set was quite short – eight songs and about 40 minutes in total – but they crammed in some of their best loved numbers, including Anger Management, Tales of Intervention and Play Some Ska.

Random Hand

Random Hand

Random HandRandom Hand

Aside from their fantastic songs, the band were also extremely likeable. They chatted casually with the crowd and were very grateful for all the support from their fans. Speaking of which, an impressive proportion of the audience sang and danced along to every song, and were clearly there to see Random Hand as much as Less Than Jake.

Less Than Jake

Once everyone was warmed up (and it really was warm in that tiny room!), Less Than Jake came out to ramp up the energy even further. I was worried that the small venue might detract from the set but it was actually one of the best performances I’ve ever seen from the band.

Less Than JakeLess Than Jake

They stuck largely to their older songs, as they know that those are the ones that go down best with their fans. The set was packed full of classics but highlights included Sugar In Your Gas Tank, 9th At Pine and Gainesville Rock City. Conversation with the audience was funny and entertaining, and added nicely to the intimate feel of the night.

Less Than Jake

The band played energetically as always, running around the stage and clearly enjoying themselves thoroughly. The fans responded equally well, with plenty of moshing and even the odd crowd surfer squeezing themselves underneath the dangerously low ceiling.

Less Than Jake

Less Than Jake have been touring for many years but they certainly don’t seem to be tiring of it. This is great news for their UK fans as they’re consistently one of the most enjoyable, talented and downright fun ska bands around. They never fail to entertain, but tonight they exceeded my very high expectations and delivered one of their best gigs ever. Truly awesome.

Less Than Jake

Leave a Reply