Counterfeit Youth - O2 Academy 2, Newcastle Upon Tyne, UK - 3rd October 2018 - Karis Raeburn Counterfeit Youth took over the O2 Academy 2 to celebrate the release of their new single “Mad On” and for a band I had never heard of until a week ago, they managed to put on a great night of music for the small but enthusiastic crowd who showed up. I have to admit that, actual pubs excepted, this is the smallest music venue I have ever been to. The main 02 Academy downstairs has a capacity of 2000, but I reckon the upstairs room could only comfortably hold about 15% of that. Still, that just gave the bands a better opportunity to interact with the crowd. Split Sentence, Kahuna and Thieves of Liberty came out in support. Split Sentence and Thieves of Liberty both put on solid sets and were able to win the crowd over with a generous supply of glow sticks. I didn’t know anything about the three other bands on the bill so when I saw Kahuna’s brass section setting up I was pleasantly surprised, some people may disagree but in my opinion, unexpected ska is never a bad thing. I really enjoyed their mix of originals and covers. They have one song, “Throw” available on Spotify. I’d definitely be happy to see more of this five piece. Counterfeit Youth have some catchy songs and a great stage presence. They put me in mind of a young Biffy Clyro but there is also definitely an early 2000s pop punk vibe going on, most obviously on “The Youth” which took me back to Blink-182 circa Cheshire Cat and “Ain’t So Easy” which reminded me of The All-American Rejects. They tore through about 10 songs and although it was a quick and dirty set, it was an upbeat one and the crowd certainly appreciated it. They closed the show with the new single “Mad On” and while it wasn’t my favourite song of the night it was performed with aplomb despite it swiftly descending into a good natured glow stick fight between the band and the audience. Counterfeit Youth have six songs available on Spotify right now and they are all worth a listen. The video for “Mad On” is also on Youtube. Look out for them in local venues around the north-east. I hope they come south soon so I can enjoy them live again.