Pookout Party 2 - The White Horse is Back and it rocked!
One of the UK’s toughest pubs (According to Sky) in the UK – check.
One of the hottest days of the year – check. (the local pharmacy stating it was 35C)
5 of the finest skapunk / skacore / metalliska bands in the country right now – check!!!
It’s been 20+ years since I have ventured into my old local – The White Horse, High Wycombe – but it took the Pookout Party 2 to drag me back there (had tried before for Pookout Party 1 but COVID had other plans for me..)
So following the red kites, I found myself at the venue of legend where such luminaries as The Selecter, Bad Manners, The Slackers, The Dickies, Blossom, Laurel Aitken had played previously and into the memory cavern I went. It looked exactly the same – wait NO! The gents and ladies toilets have switched and wait for it…. There’s a BEER GARDEN! Who knew?
A quick tour of the merch stall and the friendliest people on Earth are there just chewing the fat, trading stories and anecdotes, making way for each other for more merch. The feeling you get was one of family. Like one big extended family, having a big old party.
It was hot – I mean stinking hot! From the second you step into the gig area (separated by a piece of wood on the ceiling – which was very effective… 10 degrees temp drop either side of this bit of wood!) you sweat.
Anyway – I digress… it’s the first gig in many years at the White Horse so everything’s a little glitchy to begin with. But first up is brummie quartet Sick Pins. Full on energetic ska punk in a similar vein to The Sporadics / Citizen Fish and well received. The great quality of these guys is their stage banter – just out and out positivity with Chris’ exuberant character to the fore. Two songs in and the vocals are sorted and Chris no longer sounds like he’s at the bottom of a well. Great energy throughout.
Temperature gain + 8C
Next up (after a quick beer garden break) Filthy Militia. FM sent us their first EP towards the end of 2019 and we were impressed. And then Coping Mechanism dropped earlier this year and they had upped their game. However… live everything multiplies by 10. Huge sound from these guys and gals. The mix is great for me with the horns dominant. The gentle giant singer, Frosty, has such a chill, laid back attitude – reminds me a bit of Adam from Captain Accident. Really accomplished playing that gives extra life to their tunes. So stoked to hear Little Sister! Great singalong stuff.
Temperature gain + 12.5C
A quick change over and the main reason for my pilgrimage from Dorset – Redeemon. This leviathanic dream child of Pook’s is an absolute beast. Heavy, heavy slabs of metal guitar and staccato horns. Pook with his outstanding hair smoulders us straight into Operation Burnout and the place erupts. Now the ‘dance’ section is a touch on the small side so it all got a bit exciting as the pit took up the whole section. So great to finally hear this live – heavier, angrier and louder than on vinyl. A couple of guys go to head to the bar and then Anaphylactic kicks in and one goes *oh shit* 180 turns and straight into the pit. P-H-E-N-O-M-E-N-A-L! Apparently Pook is a bit warm, but he doesn’t complain about it. It’s everything I hoped it would be. Potentially the greatest live band in the UK right now.
Temperature gain + 6.66 C
So it’s no longer colder outside and you cannot escape the heat – I think the venue has raised the temperature of the surrounding area…
Call Me Malcolm takes the stage and the angular bearded singer Lucius has a flipping hat on – A WOOLY HAT! It’s 40 C+ in here! Hard to believe these Kent guys have only two albums (Finally got a hold of I was broken!) as every song is banger after banger. They play SO tight and hard – so many great tunes in a half hour set. Stand out tracks were Wake Up, The Monster Said and Button Down Radio Featured This Week track A Beginner's Guide To Fighting A Losing Battle. Ignoring the heat, everyone is going nuts! The energy from the band manifests in the crowd and its relentlessly joyful.
Temperature increase + 10 C
After a few hiccups (not hiccoughs – very different) The JB Conspiracy take the stage… just! They FILL the stage (admittedly we had more on stage for Blossom) but it’s tight up there – especially when there’re trombones involved! So – the guys end up treating us to a 20 minute set. Their sound is more refined and more accurate. Damn – each note is like a carefully threaded needle receiving fresh thread. Fantastic to hear Guiding Lights live and the fans dig it! I was gonna catch two tracks and start the two hour drive home. But glad I waited until the end. I now have a whole new appreciation for this band.
Temperature decrease –15C – they were that cool!
Now leaving was not so easy. It was like leaving a family gathering – everyone fist bumping, hand shaking, hugging. I think it’s that that defines the skapunk/skacore community… no matter what you wear, beard / no beard, patterned shirt, Motley Crue shirt, long hair – short hair – no hair; everyone’s accepted and not judged – well I think there’s competition for who is having the most fun! Caught up with old friends and made a whole heap of new friends.
Every band was exceptional at what they do – what they do is slightly different from what the other bands do – and well worth the 200 mile round trip.
Massive props to all at Pookout Records who put this whole shebang together! Make sure that you hit up their store and buy stuff from all these bands and more - https://www.pookoutrecords.co.uk/shop
Catch these guys if you can. You might just regret it otherwise...
Check out some of the tunes on our Pookout playlist!
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