For a band with a cult following, CKY’s return to the UK after a six year hiatus was undoubtedly a welcome one. Having sold out their first date at the London Underworld with ease, it was no surprise that the band quickly announced a second date in the city, and the venue was packed out on a Monday night when we caught up with their triumphant return tour.
Opening for CKY, London alt-rock trio Puppy made a solid impression with their grungy, riff-heavy tunes. Their impressively intricate guitars and heavy yet melodic sound demonstrates why tours across the UK have featured the three piece, and cements the deservedness of their ever-growing buzz.
Despite Puppy’s impressive competency, this crowd were all about CKY. And from the moment the band came on stage – introduced by Jackass star Bam Margera – to the very end, the dedicated crowd went all out for pretty much every single second.
After the departure of founding vocalist Deron Miller, fellow founder Chad I Ginsburg took on full vocal duties – and the show demonstrated his capability to perform. Despite perhaps not having the range to hit Miller’s original vocal melodies, his delivery of the material hit the right spots. Even new material from upcoming album The Phoenix was welcomed, with even the more casual attendees at the back nodding along.
But old classics hit hardest, and when the opening riff of 96 ‘Quite Bitter Beings’ rung out, the entire floor of the Underworld exploded in a frenzy of bodies. Crowdsurfers flew through the air, legs hitting the low hanging lights and making their way onto the stage, to be quickly bundled away by alert security. The crowd in question ranged from old-school punks to girls in tracksuits, and CKY clearly have a level of nostalgia to many, undoubtedly thanks to their perfect skate park soundtrack back catalogue.
Live, many of the tracks have a grungier feel than on record, with a lo-fi feel that’s a perfect fit to venues like The extra-amplified, filthy-dirty bass of ‘Escape From Hellview’ hung in the air as the song finished and the band took a pre-encore pause, and the audience sung every word back at the top of their lungs.
To a rapturous reaction from the crowd, Bam Margera joined the band for the encore, delivering a energetic rendition of Turbonegro’s ‘All My Friends Are Dead’, followed by an audience shout-along of ‘Bite It You Scum’. Ending on ‘Knee Deep’, this was certainly one incredibly welcome return.