Photos and Review by Kevin Rossin

Sick Of It All are currently touring the world celebrating their 30th Anniversary and having arrived in Birmingham for their first headline show, in what the band believe to be nearly ten years. They have brought with them two up and coming UK bands, Brass Tongue (Birmingham) and Broken Teeth (Manchester), with the later having just released their debut album with Nuclear Blast Records.

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This was my first time visiting the reputable Rainbow Venues, and I was excited to see what was in store for the evening. I have been a fan of SOIA for over twenty years after being introduced to them in the mid-Nineties via the famed ‘Scratch the Surface’ album that was arguably their big break into the UK and European music scene. Upon entering the Rainbow, I followed the steady stream of people, past the bar, towards the back room to see a small low level stage with its barriers removed. This is a typical scene for most SOIA gigs as they request the barriers be removed to allow their fans to be up close and personal during the show.

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When Brass Tongue took to the stage, as the first support act, the room was partially filled with approximately 60 people. A mix of older SOIA fans adorned with the mandatory NYHC band t-shirts, as well as younger local fans of BT, all of which seemed to be impressed with the music being played from the five-piece group from Birmingham. By the end of their set the crowd had grown in size, a good sign for this band’s popularity to come. One of the catchier numbers from their set was ‘Full Circle’.

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Next up was Broken Teeth from Manchester. The space that was previously clear just in front of the stage was quickly taken over by multiple slam dancing fans as soon as the band got into their set. The lead singer put in an intense performance of the well delivered set from this group. They were well received by the growing crowd who were waiting for the main event.

After the two support acts had finished, the temperature in the small room had increased to a ridiculous level, that was what I thought until SOIA had finished with us all.

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The band was introduced by the audio from the classic ‘Tele Savalas Looks at Birmingham’ documentary, a nice touch for the local fans, although the guitars techs weren’t quite prepared for the five minute intro! Pete Koller (Guitar) could be seen off stage warming up like he was about to enter the ring of a boxing match. What we were about to experience was a 70-minute barrage of high energy greatest hits from one of the most hard working and physical bands I have ever seen.

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Pete and Craig Setari (Bass) literally bounced from side to side during each song, leaping high into the air. Within a few songs Pete’s guitar was dripping with sweat from the guitarists performance on stage. Lou Koller (vocals) was looking after the centre stage dodging stage divers and giving a vocal performance that hasn’t dulled even after 30 years in the business. Behind them all, tucked away between the back line was Armand Majidi (drums), in fact I’m not sure how they mange to squeeze him in as he is a beast of a man/drummer!

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The SOIA set included tracks from their first self-titled 1987 release ‘Sick Of It All’, all the way through to the sing along political anthem ‘DNC’ from their latest album ‘Last Act Of Defiance’. Each track was faultless, at no point did the energy level drop, which is pretty impressive from a bunch of guys hitting their 50’s! But this has never changed, I have seen them about eight times over the last 20 years and you are always guaranteed 100% effort. SOIA have a distinctive sound, Lou’s gravelly vocals can be picked out anywhere, even on CIV’s ‘Wait One Minute More’ where he guests. But my point is that unlike some bands that have to dramatically vary their styles to keep fresh, SOIA have kept their sound distinct, current and relevant, with political and social commentary mixed with high tempo – high octane music, but without the need to change the formula. They have paid their dues, helping to give birth to the Hardcore Punk Scene in New York, along side bands like Agnostic Front – the self acclaimed Godfathers of Hardcore. SOIA have as much fun onstage and that enthusiasm is transferred to every member of the crowd at their shows. This show was no different, sold out, jam packed with both young and old and always better than the last one – if that’s possible.

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After the finale, each band member jumped off stage to thank their fans, sign autographs, talk to old friends and have pictures taken; a rare thing these days. I advise listening to the track ‘Road Less Travelled’ to get the ethos behind the band and the album ‘Non Stop’ for a re-visit of some of their greatest hits from their 25th anniversary.

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Set List included:

Take The Night Off
Injustice System
It’s Clobberin’ Time
Good Lookin’ Out
Road Less Travelled
My Life
Just Look Around
Step Down
Friends Like You
Uprising Nation
Scratch The Surface
World Full of Hate
Us Vs Them

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2 Responses to “Sick Of It all + Brass Tongue + Broken Teeth at the Rainbow Venues, Birmingham, UK – 14th August 2016”

  1. lee allen Says:

    Good job dude!

  2. eddie Says:

    awesome review an pics!

    i think last song they played was built to last

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