The pace rarely dips below frenetic and the tunes never vary from relentlessly upbeat...

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Sheffield University Foundry


Sheffield University Foundry

It’s a strange kind of progress. From a time when punk rock was the music of opposition, we’re approaching the stage when it rules the world. On a musical planet still lurking in the shadow of Nirvana, we’ve begun to see fast, ebullient noise take over as the international language of bored, anxious kids.

Limp Bizkit are in the Top Ten, Blink 182 are plastered all over MTV and even a band from Gainesville, Florida, with no major-label support and even less press, can pull 1,000 punters for a show in sleepy old Sheffield.

Less Than Jake look as surprised as anyone. Twin singers Chris and Roger (remember kids, punk rock = no surnames) attack their catalogue of ska-inflected skatecore with the kind of vigour that only comes from secretly knowing that you’re winging it.

The pace rarely dips below frenetic and the tunes never vary from relentlessly upbeat, like their sly tribute to their home town, ‘Gainesville Rock City’ (retitled ‘Sheffield Rock City’ for the night. Cheers.) If you heard Green Day first time round, you’ve probably heard it all before.

Less Than Jake specialise in mindless, directionless energy. Their claims for originality or lyrical guile are wafer-thin, but in a world where seemingly everyone has a vague chance of making a living by being the descendents of the Descendents, why should they care?

They’re fun. Their album, ‘Borders & Boundaries’, is pretty good. They’re supporting Bon Jovi on their next tour.

Punk rock has won the war, then, but for what?

Jim Wirth