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Less Than Jake - Astoria (May 31, 2003)


Story: Roland Stanbridge-Miles

WALKING down the long queue lining the side of The Astoria,
Adam's a bit concerned.

"Are you sure this is the right night?
This looks like an under-16s gig," he said. And there's no denying it.

Yet a quick check of the tickets reveals no information about any age restrictions. So the Grandads (25 and 24 respectively) are
allowed in.

Less Than Jake have been around since 1992, so you'd expect them
to have some die-hard long-term fans who are at least in their
30s.

If they're here tonight, they're doing a good job of not being noticed.

For if anyone among tonight's crowd had been into them from the start, they would have had to have started liking them from the age of six!

Anyway, it doesn't bother me. In fact, it makes it easier than normal to get to the bar, with only a few kids buying lemonade and coke to contend with. I buy beer, because I can.

Before tonight, I knew very little about Less Than Jake.

Basically, I'm aware they're an American ska-punk band - one of those bands I probably know a few songs by, without realising it.

After tonight, however, I know little more, but am not interested in expanding my knowledge.

I recognise one and a half songs, but the rest all sound the same.

The singer's whining American vocals grate, and a bit more ska and a bit less rawk would be a vast improvement.

However, I'm aware that I'm clearly in a minority. The kids love it - from our excellent viewing position on
the balcony (it's a bit cooler there), we can see a packed dancefloor jumping about enthusiastically to the repetitive sounds like a sea of sweaty adolescents (which is what they are).

I'd go as far as to say that this is the most enthusiastic crowd I've
ever seen in the Astoria, but I reckon that's due to their youth,
rather than the quality of the band.

Nevertheless, it's highly entertaining watching the countles crowdsurfers making their precarious way to the foot of the stage to be caught by the overworked bouncers, who should surely be demanding a higher rate of pay for tonight - although that would probably be turned down on the grounds that the bodies they are catching weigh less than normal!

I missed all but the last half of the last song of the support act, and probably misheard their name as well (The Chinos?) but judging (rather unfairly) by that, it's a relief.

A bit like Less Than Jake, but without the ska influence.

It's a very early finish - 9.45pm - due to it being GAY night afterwards (or maybe due to early bedtimes), featuring a performance from Erasure.

I'd much rather have seen them than these boring Yanks.

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