Gig Review
Birmingham, Academy
12th March 2009

[Spunge]                     Fandangle    
Photo Of Fandangle © Copyright Helen Williams We arrive in time to hear the final song of the first support act, which goes something like: ‘I hope my boss dies of AIDS’, repeated over and over for about 6 minutes. For a while I wonder whether I’m in the right place – surely [spunge] didn’t choose these guys to support them? By the looks on the faces of most of the other people in the room, I’m not alone in thinking this.

Luckily, the second supports get the evening back on track, with some good old-fashioned ska-punk. Fandangle are a huge relief, and a joy to watch. There are so many of them that the stage can hardly contain them, and the entire horn section is squeezed around one microphone. Drew, the keyboardist, periodically holds his keyboard up to display the message ‘SKANK’ written on its underside, and the crowd take note. Their tracks get the crowd nicely warmed up for [spunge], and they perform so well that they should be headlining their own shows.

[spunge] finally appear on stage at around 9. This is the first time I’ve seen them live, and I’m surprised that there are only 4 of them. Is it just me, or did [spunge] used to have a horn section? They don’t disappoint though, and launch straight into their extensive back catalogue of ska classics. The entire band provide plenty of entertainment, launching about the stage so much that you start to feel sick just watching them. Chris ‘Jarvis’ doesn’t let the side down either, with his animated drumming and Muppet-strewn drum kit.

Photo Of [Spunge] © Copyright Helen WilliamsThey manage to conjure an impressive circle pit for such a small venue, and I’m worried during the more popular songs that we might stomp our way through the ceiling. In between songs there’s a fantastically relaxed atmosphere, with the band taking time to chat to the crowd and make jokes. At one point, they start throwing out ‘goodies’ to the crowd, including an empty cardboard box. Surprisingly, the question ‘WHO WANTS A CARDBOARD BOX?!’ is answered by the majority of onlookers. They also thank Fandangle repeated throughout the night for their performance, and blatantly ignore the first support, who I have yet to learn the name of.

It’s a travesty [spunge] haven’t made it bigger than this. The world would be a better place if there were more songs with lyrics like those in ‘Kicking Pigeons’ (my favourite is: ‘In your search for absolution there is only one solution, kick a pigeon in the park’). They have such a long list of classics, and they don’t fail to thrash out all my old favourites – ‘Roots’, ‘Centrefold’, ‘Kicking Pigeons’, and ‘Skanking Song’ – as well as a brilliant cover of ‘No Woman No Cry’.

Fandangle – 4/5
[spunge] – 5/5

Review By Helen Williams

Alex Copeland (Vocals)
Damon Robins (Lead Guitar)
Chris Murphy (Bass Guitar)
Jeremy King (Drums)


Adam (Vocals, Guitar)
Tom (Guitar, Vocals)
Andy (Bass, Vocals)
Eidur (Trumpet, Vocals)
Drew (Keys, Vocals)
Craig (Sax, Vocals)
Will (Trombone, Vocals)

 Band Related Links
[Spunge] Myspace
Fandangle Myspace
 Review Score Code
- Top Cheese
- Brilliant
- Pretty damn good
- Ok I guess
- What Was That?