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20th November 2017

Live Review: Cap’n Jazz

It may have taken them 28 years but Cap’n Jazz’s first ever show in Europe and 1 of 2 only ever European shows was worth the wait

The 7th of November at Moth Club, London

Well, I’d never thought I’d see the day.  I’ve had pipe dreams about this but I never thought I’d see them come to fruition. And I don’t think either did Cap’n Jazz when they played their first show in October 1989. But after 28 years they finally made it here.

For those who are unaware, Cap’n Jazz are a highly influential Emo band. They were key figures in the 2nd wave of emo in the 90s and members went to find many other key bands such as American Football, Owls, Joan of Arc, The Promise, and Owen. They released their only album, Shmap’n Shmazz, in 1995 — just before they broke up. They played a tiny reunion gig in 2010 but for many, this is their first — and probably only — time they’ll see the band, with it being one of two only ever European shows.

Before they start there is huge anticipation. They open up to ‘Oh Messy Life’ and it slowly starts to settle in. The chorus allows the for a gateway explosion of energy as if everyone just realised that we’re finally getting to see Cap’n Jazz.

Despite being in their 40s, Cap’n Jazz still seem youthful. Vocalist Tim Kinsella has a very playful attitude. Whether he’s trying to crowd surf for the twentieth time, throwing his tambourine into the crowd again, or putting his mic through mine and 2 other people’s t-shirts, it’s all entertaining to watch. Even though these are usually the escapades of a very drunk man, it reflects the immature nature of the band perfectly.

The set is pounding and bouncy. Fans have long awaited to hear songs like ‘Basil’s Kite’ and ‘Planet SHHH’ and they don’t disappoint. The band are fully into it. Reunion shows can be hit and miss. Sometimes the band just in it for the money. But to see Cap’n Jazz fully into is undoubtedly special.

They do slow it down eventually with ‘Tokyo’. The spoken word track allows for some calm before kicking it back up again with more antics from Tim.

“This is the first song off our new album,” jokes guitarist Victor Villarreal before going into ‘Little League’. Hearing the crowd singing the bridge of ‘Little League’ while Tim crowd surfs all around the venue is quite surreal. It’s something many here would have probably guessed they would never get to see.

Then even more chaos ensues when Tim declares that he wants to perform ‘Olerud’ with his feet. Two crowd members prop Tim hold his feet up while his drummer, and young brother, Mike chuckles and asks if he is ok. It’s so intriguing to see what he’ll do next.

They power through the rest of their songs. ‘Forget Who We Are’ and ‘Que Suerte!’ are again blasts of more energetic fun before they head off for a little break.

The encore is a blast. Their cover of ‘Take On Me’ is a highlight of the whole thing with me seemingly ending up with a mic screaming the chorus while several others are on top me of me. The people are passionate and it really seals the deal.

Seeing Cap’n Jazz was everything I hoped for and more. The sweet emo vibes are still present and the fact that I also got to see them again the next night was the icing on the cake. The smaller venue helped in recreating the chaotic atmosphere that would have been seen in the 90s. This gig will be one I won’t be forgetting anytime soon and it’s nice to cross off one of Emo bands that I thought I’d never see. Now I’m just waiting on Snowing and Algernon Cadwallader.


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