Adrian Cooper has been unwell

Old reviews that are no longer available online, or from sites that no longer exist. The pen is dead, long live the camera.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

San Quentin
The Verge, Kentish Town, London

As big a phenomenon as it is State-side, it’s not been that long since, over here, emo was almost an insult to be thrown at punks who were not only too polite to rock out, but even dared to take themselves seriously. But with punk’s burial at the hands of Blink182 and Wheatus, the all too brief flowering of At The Drive-In has left the kids wanting more than such dumb-ass punk-pop will ever be able to offer.

Fuelled by Fierce Panda’s recent emo-worshipping ‘Go’ EP, those old Van Pelt records have found their way back onto the turntable. As one of the highlights of ‘Go’, San Quentin were set to lead an emo-shaped charge this side of the Atlantic, along with like minded souls such as Hundred Reasons, jetplaneLanding and the Starries.

However, just as it was all looking so rosy, San Quentin have gone and pulled the plug. After prestige appearances with Jimmy Eat World and American alt.rock heroes Superchunk, San Quentin have decided that this low-key gig in a tiny north London club will be their last. It hardly seems fitting that it should end in such a manner, but there’s not much we can do about that now.

Fronted by Tom Davies, also of Mogwai’s post-rock nemesis, Immense, San Quentin were the archetypal mild-mannered and hard-rocking emo band. From the fidgety guitars of ‘Six Seconds’ to the ‘Goo’ era Sonic Youth thrash of ‘Potato Skin’, it was all there, power, passion and integrity in abundance. As the thunderous finale of ‘Arms Folded’ roars through the room, the sense of loss in the crowd is all too obvious. As far as show business clichés go, San Quentin have got it spot on. They’ve left us wanting much, much more. Its such a shame that their premature demise means that they won’t be around to deliver it.