Live Review: We Are The Union – Trillians, Newcastle, February 9th 2010

Tonight, Trillians in Newcastle holds host to popcore-ska outfit We Are The Union, from Detroit, Michigan, as they hit the UK for the first time, it’s just a shame that there’s not many people to witness it…

Having travelled down from Glasgow, American-fronted The Hostiles take to the stage to a predominately empty room, delivering their dose of parpy ska, full of feel-good horns and surf-infused guitars with an abundance of upstrokes, combined with some very cartoonish vocals. There’s evident third-wave influences here, and while their sound may not be massively original, as they play a selection of charmingly chirpy tunes from their self-released Always Looking Forward, this is just fun music made for straight-up skanking.

On the other end of the ska spectrum is a band quickly making a name for themselves on the UK scene, Milton Keynes four-piece Anti Vigilante. Their sound, reminiscent of Five Knuckle, is just as much punk rock, as it is ska, if not more so, with brash hardcore influences, and it’s a contrast that really works, as they belt out tunes such as Skoliver and Calling Yourself Punk, from their debut record Secure Beneath The Watchful Eyes. It’s a really tight performance, and with a tweak here and there, you can bet they’ll definitely be up there with Random Hand as one of the UK’s top skacore acts one day.

Opening with the 55-second blazer and Set Your Goals-esque Occupational Hazard, tonight’s headliners from Detroit, We Are The Union, effortlessly keep the pace going as they flow straight into Rearranging Deck Chairs on the Titanic from their new EP The Gun Show Must Go On.

Showcasing their unique sound of fist-raising melodic punk with a trombone thrown into good measure, the band proceed to storm through their set full of tracks from their debut record Who We Are, with the likes of I’m Like John Cusack and This Is My Life (And It’s Ending One Minute At A Time) proving to be highlights.

With about twenty people in the room and three people singing along, it’s quite disheartening seeing a band of this calibre play to so few. Nonetheless, the dismal turnout certainly doesn’t dampen their spirits, as the fivesome engage in some endearingly light-hearted banter, admirably joking about the poor numbers, and as they finish things off with MTV Is Over If You Want It, the lyrics couldn’t be more poignant, “We’re just being who we are / And you can’t take that away.” This is such a genuine band who simply love to play music regardless of how many bodies are in the room.

However, if there’s any justice in the world, this band should be getting far more recognition, especially after tonight’s performance. Word on the street is that they’re back in October on a fairly big tour, which is deservedly what they need to help boost their profile, as, sadly, this headline run may have been a bit too premature.

Faye Turnbull.

Keep an eye out for our interview with We Are The Union coming soon!

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