All too rarely gracing our shores, Dutch punk supremos, Heideroosjes made a welcome come-back, this time at Camden’s Underworld; the perfect venue for the genre.

After a headline October 2000 Epitaph Euro Attack Tour, which took in both London and Nottingham, and ultimately failed due to its poor attendance (Nottingham barely managed to scrape together more than twenty fans), the band returned to concentrating their efforts on mainland Europe. Adding North America to their itinerary in 2006, it was about bloody time the quartet returned to England. Why London on a Sunday? God only knows!

Clearly a cut above any other Dutch punk band in history, Heideroosjes mix rawness with tight song-writing and aren’t afraid of throwing melody in. Last time out Heideroosjes were musically faultless. Again, they proved their merit, proving how effective having the same line-up has been for the past 18 years. They weren’t, however, the only band to make an impression as the two English support acts went about warranting their appearance.

First up were Torbay five-piece, Robolint, kicking off the night; their jovial antics pretty much setting the mood for a quality evening. Although going weak at the knees isn’t particularly macho, ska-punk, and its sublime brass, can have that effect. The band delivered exactly that. Entertaining as well as musically appealing, Robolint are a band that will go far, very far.

Following Robolint, Chesterfield/Wolverhampton-based group Pickled Dick were almost set up to fail, but didn’t. Able to convert even the non-punks, their brand of Green Day styled tuneful punk certainly seemed to impress. It’s a surprise that, for a band increasing in popularity, they hadn’t brought along much of their own audience, but they’ll have gained a few more followers after an almost flawless display. With one full-length under their belt, it was the catchy 'Extra-Terrestrial', off the later 'Exercise Your Demons EP', that stood as the highlight. That is, before Heideroosjes stepped out onto the stage.

With neither support band truly fitting Heideroosjes' musical style, rather complementing it; it was up to the quartet to show the Underworld why the nine or so quid entry fee was an absolute steal. Seemingly unphased at the lack of punters, Heideroosjes fired straight into Psychic and Scapegoat Revolution, from the SINema album, and instantly enticed a few eager fans into the vacant moshpit.

A fine mix of old and new songs, including the indomitable 'Break the Public Peace', Heideroosjes’ set was wizardry in disguise. As the Underworld filled with the band’s, sometimes melodic, sometime aggressive sound and Igor’s shiny pastel-coloured suit reflected back every flicker of light, the atmosphere began to build in intensity, brushing aside the lack of onlookers.

Lead singer, Marco, set about creating a rapport with the limited audience, conversing with fans at times and evidently grateful to those who had made the effort to be there. Keeping all but one of their Dutch tracks (the abrasive 'Ik Wil Niks!') off the set list, the show had been tailored to an English-speaking audience. It would have been good to see at least one more Dutch track played, but beggars can’t be choosers, even if one chap was adamantly begging for 'Würst and Käse', a German-vocalled Heideroosjes track. The band duly rejected his pleas.

Whilst the technical performance was measured and composed, Heideroosjes threw energy out at the audience as if it were on tap. Closing proceedings with the exceptional 'I’m Not Deaf' and 'United Scum', these old favourites couldn’t have rounded off the night any better and proved how the band have delivered everything expected of them.

Seven years on; more mature, with a wider repertoire, Heideroosjes again made their mark. Just this time, French band, Burning Heads, weren’t around to turn giant poster-airplanes into flaming arrows. Ending this Underworld show with five sweaty fans and sets of admiring eyes further back, all of which had devoured the final moments of the energetic feast; Heideroosjes were professional to the end. It would be difficult to find a better live band: the Benelux countries already know that. So, come on England, get your act together next time!












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