Saturday 17 May 2014

Lit @ Electric Ballroom, Camden

“You make me come.  You make complete.  You make me completely miserable.”

Lyrics don’t get more emo than that, do they?  And for people of a certain age, Lit’s Miserable was the soundtrack to teenage heartbreak.  Everyone goes through a punk stage in their teens and Lit’s ‘A Place In The Sun’ from 1999 was a seminal album in my friendship group.  Not only was its collection of twelve pop-punk songs near flawless (in my fourteen year old mind at least), but their songs appeared in the American Pie films and episodes of Malcolm in the Middle, whilst the video for Miserable sees the band performing on Pamela Anderson.  ‘A Place In The Sun’ really is tied up in late ‘90s American teen youth culture.

Now, fifteen years later, the band have reunited for an anniversary tour and the fans remain as enthusiastic as ever – a little older than before, able to legally drink and holding phones aloft rather than lighters, but still moshing like teenagers as a haze of b.o collects over the crowd.  “You make my job too easy” shouted frontman A-Jay Popoff as the audience screamed out every word to every track, punching the air with relentless abandon.  They’re definitely a little less cool now though – when one audience member appeared to be injured in the mosh, the band literally stopped playing to check he was alright.  Awkward.

The first part of the set consisted solely of ‘A Place In The Sun’, played in order from start to finish.  Sure, you could simply press play on the CD, but you’d be missing the visceral experience of the gig – the performance a little rusty, but the punchy riffs and simple melodies as catchy as ever.  The only issue is that the album was always a little front heavy, with its biggest singles My Own Worst Enemy, Miserable and Zip-Lock all in the first half.  There are some underrated tracks towards the end, but these singles should’ve been massive encore tracks; instead the band blew their load too early.

More so, Lit are very much a one album band.  ‘A Place In The Sun’ (their second album) was followed in 2001 by ‘Atomic’ and in 2012 by ‘The View From the Bottom’, but it’s that 1999 release that is most fondly remembered.  The second part of the set included songs from these other albums and whilst they’re decent enough pop-rock efforts, it fell flat in comparison to the earlier highs.

Still, this tour is designed purely for nostalgia, allowing both the band and the audience to relive their youth.  For a short time I was fourteen again (albeit one with a sore head the following day).