No Age Live – In A Scout Hut

No Age
Trinity Centre Hall, Dalston, London
20 October, 2009

Playing at the Scala on Monday night didn’t really suit LA duo No Age. Yes – there were actual stage lights, and a bar, and the sound wasn’t this ear-splitting, but seeing the champions of DIY punk play a last-minute, all-ages party at a Boy Scouts’ meeting hall in a Hackney backstreet the next day made a lot more sense. As they launch from a hasty sound-check straight into ‘Miner’ (the opener on last year’s album ‘Nouns’), even the overhead strip lighting can’t kill the atmosphere.

There are lots of new tracks to showcase: Randy Randall (wolf t-shirt, moustache, guitar) and Dean Spunt (drums, vocals, plaid) have just released new EP ‘Losing Feeling’, and there’s a new album in the pipeline – but it’s old faves like ‘Teen Creeps’, ‘Sleeper Hold’ and ‘Ripped Knees’ that get the Dalstonites peeling off the walls, thrashing around in front of the stage, and attempting to crowd surf on an audience that’s too spread out to hold them.

As the band announce their last song before an early curfew, a gaggle of fans jump on stage, leads get kicked out of pedals and eventually the mic stops working. Another band might have thrown them off and started again, but No Age nod at each other and keep going with what they have, grinning when a girl kisses Randy’s cheek mid-song and making sure to hug each stage invader when it finishes. As the band’s joyful, rackety lo-fi proves, sometimes spontaneity trumps perfection.