On June 2nd, the first day of the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee celebrations, London Punk fans were graced by special visitors from San Francisco. The last time Me First And The Gimme Gimmes visited the British capital was in 2019. This time they were supported by the US street musician Pinc Louds and the British punk band 4FT Fingers.
Me First And The Gimme Gimmes, 4ft Fingers, Pinc Louds
O2 Academy Islington, 2 June 2022
Words and photography: Mariam Osman
“Pinc Louds was born from a bird’s reflection in a gutter. It made its way into three-dementiality (sic) by feeding on insects and candy wrappers…” This is how the band describes itself on their website.
While originally being a band of four, this time Claudi, the lead singer, turned it into a solo act. The venue was half full when the singer, wearing a flower dress, makeup and a black wig, started to entertain the incoming fans and enjoyed her G&T in between songs.
Claudi moved from Puerto Rico to NYC in 2015 to fulfil her dream of playing in the subway. After meeting the other three band members and playing successful gigs, it opened many doors for them, like touring around the globe, including the UK. Pinc Louds has a unique sound and draws influences from different musical as well as theatrical art forms.
The self-proclaimed “imaginary band” uses a mixture of various noises, acoustic guitar and interesting instruments, including “Güiro”, a Latin American percussion instrument, as well as “Kalimba”, a plucked ideophone originally from Zimbabwe.
Claudi’s songs were in Spanish and English. Playing on the streets is apparently her favourite, as she can entertain all kinds of different people. With her fun personality and new musical style, Claudi managed to get some new fans for her band, Pinc Louds, on her last day of the tour.
Next up was the self-described “beer-skate-punk” band from Cheltenham, 4FT Fingers. In contrast to Pink Louds, 4FT Fingers have a heavier sound which led fans to pogo. The band grew to be one of the most popular punk bands in the UK of the modern era and was a household name in the punk scene in the early 2000s.
Around a decade back, they had earned a reputation as UK’s hardest working band, playing around 140 shows a year. Fun Fact: 4FT Finger’s drummer, who joined the band in 2012, shares his name with British chef Jamie Oliver. Wonder what would happen if you brought both together to show off their skills.
Rob Crebbin, the lead singer, immediately engaged with the crowd and included them in the whole show with sing-along tracks like 40 Years Of Misery and Last Man Standing. After an energetic performance, the band said goodbye saying, “You have all been fingered.”
Just in for the Jubilee and requested by The Queen herself, these dashing dudes from Me First And The Gimme Gimmes were the main and final act of the evening. With a stylish green leopard shirt, a suit jacket with a sparkling “GG” on the back and a white ukulele, lead singer Spike Slawson entered the stage wearing a mask picturing the Queen.
After playing a few tunes, the rest of the band joined, wearing the same shirt and Her Majesty’s face in front of theirs. All had different drawings on their masks, from the Austrian invader of WWII to the band KISS.
Me First And The Gimme Gimmes started strong with sing-along hits like Jolene and On The Road Again before revealing their true faces. The venue was absolutely packed, and there was almost no space to properly move or even get drinks.
The infectious euphoric energy made everyone in the hall shout, sing and jump at the same time throughout all age groups.
Me First And The Gimme Gimmes, shortened to ‘Me First’ or ‘The Gimmes’, are a punk rock supergroup from San Francisco formed in 1995. They described themselves in the show as not only “a” but “THE” cover band. They consist of well-known musicians from various punk groups.
Spike Slawson from Swingin’ Utters is the most consistent member and also one of the original band members. For the current tour, they had a rare treat on the bass, C.J. Ramone from one of the biggest punk bands of the ’70s throughout the ’90s – The Ramones.
The band itself is named after a children’s book of the same name. Currently, they are touring through five European countries.
After fake guessing the city they were currently performing in, the fans cheered when the band finally announced, “It’s great to be in London.”
More catchy tunes like All My Loving, Sweet Caroline and Uptown Girl followed, and fans kept singing, jumping and bumping their sweaty bodies against each other. With his sparkling sunglasses and perfectly timed swaps of his microphone between his left and right hand, Spike managed to engage flawlessly with the cheering crowd and kept the energy going.
The whole spectacle looked great, especially from the balcony. But all good things must end. Luckily for the fans, Me First And The Gimme Gimme gave them an encore to remember playing Different Drum, Dann’s Song and End Of The Road.
What a fun and energetic evening, The Queen would be proud!
Me First and The Gimme Gimmes
On the Road Again
Me & Julio
I Will Survive
Over the Rainbow
All My Loving
Leaving on a Jet Plane
End Of The Road