Saturday 22nd May 2004 – Less Than Jake w/ Capdown and The A.K.A’s at Plymouth Pavilions

Almost a year to the day of our first Less Than Jake show, my friends and I were travelling away from home to see the band again. For this year’s trip Phil’s Mum, Juanita and her partner kindly drove Jim, Phil and I to Plymouth. Ed, Greg and I believe Richard Wells (more on him soon) were escorted down by Ed’s Dad and met us later in the day.

Unlike the Cardiff trip, we made a weekend of this one, staying in a B&B a short walk from the venue overlooking the harbour. Phil, Jim and I sharing a pokey room with three single beds was comparable to an episode of Rainbow (Zippy, Bungle and George) or possibly Only Fools and Horses (Del, Rodney and Grandad/Albert).

Just like the Cardiff trip, we once again bumped into Roger. Not at the band’s bus this time, no, our stalking skills had enhanced to finding him sitting incognito in the middle of town eating a Burger King. I don’t doubt we asked the stupid question whether he remembered us from the previous year. He humoured us for far longer than he had any obligation to, complimenting Greg on his Space Invaders t-shirt and calling us out for saying the live band playing in the square were shit (in his words they were “actually quite talented”). In my years working with Roger, I’ve never mentioned either (or any) of these early meetings.

All pre-gig excitement having peaked, we headed to the venue earlier than was probably necessary. I’m glad we did though because what we saw as we waiting in line had an impact on the years that followed.

From the other side of a grassy verge came two men with guitars and one with a trumpet. We would soon learn that they were a ska band local to Plymouth called Robolint. They weren’t on the bill for the show, but they came along anyway to entertain a crowd that was exactly their target audience with an acoustic set. In a few short songs they were successful in making fans of us, and the rest of the queue.

We’d go on to see Robolint play multiple gigs at our local venue Mister Smiths and a few years later when I got into booking shows myself, I put them on a couple of times too. It wasn’t finding a new band that we liked which was significant about this though, it was the realisation that you could do something like this. In the late 2000’s when I’d go down the O2 Academy in Bournemouth before pop punk / punk rock shows to talk to the people waiting in line, ask them to check out our band’s songs playing through my headphones, then offer them a flyer or even CD at a cut price, this was all inspiration taken from Robolint.

The show was opened by The A.K.A’s, a recent signing to Vinnie from Less Than Jake’s Fueled By Ramen Records. I’d downloaded a label sampler that had one of their songs on it prior to seeing them at this gig. I can remember the sound not being great in this venue, because despite knowing the song, I could barely tell if they’d started playing it or not. They were an entertaining live band though and I did go on to buy their album.

Yellowcard were supposed to be the main support on this tour. They pulled out and I can’t remember if it was for illness or some other ‘unforeseen circumstance’ but this was around about the time they exploded in popularity, so I think there’s a chance they had a bigger offer. Instead we got Capdown, a band I’ve seen many times over the years, mostly at Reading and Slam Dunk Festival, this was the first time though. I can still remember Jake, the frontman saying “all my life I wanted a Labour government, now we’ve got one, I’m not so sure”. I had no idea what this really meant in 2004, it did becoming increasingly / depressingly clear over time.

After a massive 2003 for Less Than Jake with the release of Anthem, they were back, quite quickly in hindsight, to follow up with this second round. The companion record B Is For B-Sides or “Anthem Disc 2″, was still a couple of months from it’s July 2004 release, yet one of it’s standout bangers (and one of my favourite songs in their entire back catalogue), Sleep It Off made it onto the setlist. They also played Last Hour of the Last Day Of Work, which involved some swapping of roles to perform. I wrote a bit about this and the song itself in my recent post about Borders & Boundaries.

As I dedicated the post on our first Less Than Jake show to my Mum as a much belated thank you for her driving us, this one, of course, goes out to Juanita. I apologise once again for the aroma that escaped our shared room when you came in to check on us in the morning. I think we both know that was mostly Phil though.

You can also read about my first LTJ show, the one after this or browse a complete list of times I’ve seen them live.

Here’s my hoodie purchased at this show, and worn to death throughout 2004, 5 and 6:

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