’68 Live @ o2 Academy 3 Birmingham – 9th December 2014


As always I am going to be totally up front and honest… generally speaking ’68 really aren’t my thing. Frankly it would be wrong of me to sit here and try and pretend otherwise. However, just because you may not be a fan of a certain style of music doesn’t mean that you can’t appreciate the skill and the talent involved. I mean not everyone in the world is a fan of Adele’s music but I’m pretty sure the vast majority of people would agree that she has an incredible voice. If you can’t at least appreciate the talent involved then you are just narrow minded in my view.

The first thing that struck me about ’68 when they took the stage was the unusual stage set up, in so far as lead singer and guitarist Josh Scogin and drummer Michael McClellan faced each other in the middle of the stage and not the audience. It might turn out that I have lived a very sheltered life but even from two piece bands such as ’68 I can’t remember seeing that. Not that there was much of an audience to face in any case, as, even compared to when The Crimson Star Played earlier on in the night the crowd was ‘intimate’ to say the least.

So what was the actual performance like I hear you ask? Well… not to sound too much like your parents it was fucking loud. I wouldn’t say that it was the loudest gig that I have ever been to but for just two people on the stage the wall of sound created was impressive to say the least. The songs themselves were crammed with a venom, aggression and abrasiveness which would have been right at home in the Seattle grunge scene of the late 80’s early 90’s. Sup Pop would have had a field day with these guys.

I would define the band’s sound as ‘about as refined and civilised as being hit in the face with a house brick’. Track 1 is as full throttle and in your face as anything you are likely to hear anywhere; Track 2 follows suit and the rest of the set is more of the same… high on distortion and low on subtlety. As the night screeched towards a conclusion the intensity on the stage continued as McClellen added to the guitar based chaos by briefly playing along on Scogin’s guitar with his drumsticks before Scogin himself mounted the drum kit as the duo continued to wreck musical havoc.

As I mentioned right at top ’68 aren’t really my bag, I just find their sound a bit too abrasive personally, so I don’t think that seeing them live was ever going to turn me into a fan. BUT (The ‘but’ is that big it deserved capitals) that doesn’t mean I didn’t ‘get’ their performance last week. Rarely have I seen a band play with such passion and intensity, have such a good rapport with their own fans and hit the stage with such a determination to put on show. If you were a fan of the band then that show would have been all kinds of awesome; and I can say that as a non-fan because it still looked all kinds of awesome. So for that ’68, I doth my ill-fitting cap.


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