The Rumjacks, Man The Lifeboats and Mick O’Toole
6 August 2018
New Cross Inn, London, UK
In case you haven’t heard, it’s really, really hot in London right now which means crossing the city on public transport is a less than inviting prospect. This line-up for this gig was just about enough to tempt me to trek over to SE14, but the transport system didn’t want to play ball so I was only able to catch the last three songs of Man The Lifeboats’ set.
It was still worth the lengthy subterranean trek to hear “Rio”, the particularly funny “Northern Girls” and “Doomed”. Man The Lifeboats are a bit like a stripped back Bellowhead for cynical city dwellers and if you like your music to tell you a story, you’ll definitely like them. I can’t wait to see a full live set from them.
Mick O’Toole provided a banjo solo on a light up banjo, so really what’s not to like? They ramped up the volume with their English folk-punk which was just right to get the crowd in the mood for the main event. Highlights were: “Free Me”, “Casanova No More” a brief crowd invasion from the guitarist and finishing by truly knowing their audience and covering “Dirty Old Town”
Judging by his ‘Straight Ooteh Glesga” t-shirt, The Rumjacks frontman Frankie McLaughlin is either a fan of Keith Richards or N.W.A. I’m going to guess the former, and since wearing tartan trousers in South East London is a bold enough choice, why not fully embrace your Scottish roots (even if you are Australian)? His outfit choice alone told me this was going to be good and The Rumjacks stormed through just over an hour of tight, crowd-pleasing songs. I stopped counting but I think they managed to fit about 15 songs in all together, which shows how solid their back catalogue is and how 10 years of almost constant touring has honed their considerable skills. Despite the intense heat of the venue (There was sweat dripping off the ceiling) the mosh pit never stopped jumping and the band were clearly feeding off the energy. “Patron Saint O’ Thieves” and “An Irish Pub Song” were great, it’s always nice to see a frontman who knows his way around a tin-whistle. “Black Matilda” always puts me in mind of The Clash and of course the classic “My Time Again” was met with wild approval from the entire room. The Sydneysiders were on incredible form despite having to towel off after every song and even provided us with two more songs after being told their time was up. A great evening of folk-punk all around and definitely worth the rather epic journey there and back.