Standing under the aging art deco surrounds of the O2 Forum in Kentish Town (once called the Town and Country Club, and many moons ago a cinema) time seems to stand still and it’s hard to believe that New Model Army have been gigging for almost 40 years.
NMA have many themes that run through their music, justice and equality just one thread that crops up time and again. Considering that this is London, diverse and multicultural, I found it ironic that this 2000 capacity venue was not sold out. In recent years, they visit the Big Smoke but once a year at Christmas, despite touring extensively throughout Europe. It seems that our nation’s capital has dismissed a significant band that continues to write music that remains relevant to the times we live in.
Their recent offering ‘Winter’ includes stories that highlight the refugee crisis, as well as reflecting on the ‘age of consequence’ and uncertainty that we live in. The fervency remains and the music is as infectious as ever, with the characteristic tribal rhythms and punchy bass lines that underpin Justin Sullivan’s pertinent lyrics.
We arrive to catch Macclesfield three-piece, The Virginmarys. A forty minute set showcasing their three and a half minute hard rock offerings. Showcasing their second album, they respectfully tipped their hat to NMA for inviting them on their tour.
As NMA take to the stage Justin Sullivan says “Nice to be back in this beautiful room again” before kicking off with ‘Burn The Castle’. This annual Christmas road show has become entwined with my festive season and as each year passes it surprises me how relevant, poignant and reflective these songs are. Creatively the NMA machine is as productive as it ever was and the live shows just as engaging. From the brooding vocal of ‘Winter’ to the celebratory chorus of ‘Poison Street’ (my highlight of the night) NMA are on top form as always. Another adrenaline injection from Justin’s scrolls of wisdom.
What's also important is the feeling that I'm left with when I get home, surreal, intense, pride and restlessness. I love it.
New Model Army O2 Forum – 15/12/2016
Burn The Castle White Light Winter Part The Waters Fate Devil Angry Planet Drifts Born Feral No Rest Autumn Stormclouds 51st State Purity Bad Old World Wonderful Way To Go
Encore 1 Christian Militia Poison Street Get Me Out
Encore 2 Beginning Vagabonds
Check out our exclusive interview with Justin Sullivan prior to the show below.