Review: The Soft Pack @ 100 Club, May 20th.

The Soft Pack @ 100 Club, May 20th 2009.

The Soft Pack were in town last night to play a sold out headline gig at the famous 100 Club on Oxford Street. They brought Glenn Rock, New Jersey’s finest Titus Andronicus along for the ride too for a mouth watering double bill.

Titus Andronicus @ 100 Club, May 20th 2009.

Titus Andronicus kicked off proceedings with their brand of Pogues tinged punk rock. They seem to follow an ‘if it ain’t broke don’t fix it’ approach, adopting a set formula of: loud, energetic riffing with shouty vocals, eventually giving way to front man Patrick Stickles impressive guitar noodling. His power lies in his superb beard apparently (he’s only 23)! Their strongest tracks are the self promoting ‘Titus Andronicus’ and an English punk cover of which I’m afraid the details escape me.

Onto the main event, San Diego’s The Soft Pack. Everyone by now presumably knows they used to be called The Muslims until they got sick of the attention the name brought but here is that little pearl of wisdom for you just in case. The band as The Soft Pack only have two UK EPs behind them but such is the buzz around the sets of songs contained within them that they play to a sold out crowd on a Wednesday night in London.

A brief chat with front man Matt beforehand reveals that there will be some new songs on parade this evening as well as older favourites. The beauty of a band with 3 minute or less songs at an early stage of their career is that you can pretty much get all of their songs into one 45 minute set. The only notable exception is ‘Beside Myself’ which inexplicably doesn’t make the cut tonight. A track currently named ‘A Minor’ is the highlight of the new material with a great, almost Johnny Marr esque, guitar riff running through it.

The band’s playing is clearly finely tuned after some relentless touring over the past year and it seems like they could perform with their eyes shut even considering that the songs are already at practically double speed to what you hear on record. The speed adds urgency but occasionally makes tracks like ‘Nighlife’ end before you’ve had a chance to get into what an excellent song it is. Even guitarist Matty seems a little unprepared for the end of the song, taking a little longer than usual to switch back to guitar from the keyboards he mans for the track.

Set closer ‘Parasites’, recorded as a Muslims song, is still their strongest tune for me. It’s about annoyance with people riding your coattails and features lines like “I see you parasites, catching my slack.. why you got to a-a-ask more than you ear-ear-earn’. A band this good best get used to people riding their coattails or at least write some more great songs bitching about it! I think I’d prefer the latter.


Matty of The Soft Pack @ 100 Club, May 20th 2009.

mp3: The Soft Pack – Parasites

mp3: Titus Andronicus – Titus Andronicus

2 Responses to “Review: The Soft Pack @ 100 Club, May 20th.”

  1. Parasite Says:

    Great gig. The soft pack were very good, and have a lot of great songs. Although the band of the evening for me was titus andronicus. They felt much more unique to me and had a good degree more charm. I never knew what they were going to do next and the whole half an hour was quite thrilling. The new arcade fire perhaps? Possibly. Either way, it was a fantastic night, one of the best gigs of the year. Very lucky to have had two amazing bands on one night.

    • The new Arcade Fire huh? That’s a heavy cross to bear. I don’t think they’ll ever be that big but I did enjoy them and like what I’ve heard of their songs on record. ‘Titus Andronicus’ is a great track. You don’t happen to know what the cover they did was do you? ANd the singers beard is insane for a 23 year old! Well done him!

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