Sunday 25th January 2004 – Jesse James w/ My Dad Joe, Mr Miagi and None The Wiser at Mister Smiths, Bournemouth

This was an important show for a few reasons. Until this point I’d only been to gigs in big venues (or in one case, the attic of our school’s historic manor house building). This was my first ‘local’ show, in a local venue, put on by a local promoter, with local supports, for local people.

My friends and I had got into Jesse James off the back of being avid Less Than Jake fans, and as an extension of that, the Golf Records roster (Golf had made LTJ albums more widely available in the UK). There was some heavier stuff on Golf Records’ series of CD compilations Another Round Of Golf and then there was the stuff that we liked, the fast paced, brassy ska punk.

We got to the venue ridiculously early. I think it was pre 4pm, doors weren’t until 8. We were the first and only people queuing. We saw all the bands arrive and load their gear up that lethally steep staircase.

A particularly cringeworthy memory from this afternoon in the cold is handing members of Jesse James small milk cartons we’d taken from Burger King. We were thrilled when guitarist Rich Warren graciously accepted the milk and said “Mmmm thanks! Great for my bones!”.

Finally getting inside the box of a room that was Smiths (RIP) was like being admitted to a members only club. We’d arrived. We skanked, we stage dived, I got up on stage during Jesse James’ set and sang along with the “woah-oh-ohs”. It was all as if we’d discovered a secret pocket universe full of everything we loved and we could finally play a bigger part in it.

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