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The Movielife breeze back to form with first London show in 12 years

Never mind the last 12 years, The Movielife have spent the 24 hours prior to tonight’s show making sure it even happened. Factor in a cancelled flight, a handful of last minute cab rids to JFK and five new plane tickets, and it feels as though the strains of their entire career have been condensed into one day for full dramatic effect. While the fans may be oblivious to how close they came to clutching a defunct ticket, the look of relief across the band’s faces suggests they were all too aware.

First though, London trio Apologies, I Have None warm up the crowd on home-turf.  It’s a little empty and there’s an undeniable need to hurry along the headliners, but when you’ve waited this long to see The Movielife, a charming set from AIHN is no biggie. For those who listen, there’s an air of The Menzingers about this triplet that makes them viable openers for such an occasion.

Similarly, Gnarwolves are suitably modest about their main support billing, not that you’d expect much else from the Brighton three-piece. “This one’s for the skate rats,” proclaims bassist Charlie, before singer and guitarist, Thom, remembers to plug their upcoming tour with Anti-Flag. The UK punks leave tracks like ‘Bottle To Bottle’, ‘History Is Bunk’ and ‘Melody Has Big Plans’ to warm up everyone’s vocal chords. Job done.   

It’s all go from the crash of Evan Baken’s cymbals on ‘Face Or Kneecaps’, as the familiar lyrics – “all those fucked up things you put me through” – levitate the 1,100-cap venue. From there, The Movielife – Vinnie Caruana, Brandon Reilly, Dan Navetta, Phil Navetta and Evan Baken – look to ‘Pinky Swear’, ‘I Hope You Die Soon’ and ’10 Seconds Too Late’ to lead the ‘This Time Next Year’ section of the set. 2003’s ‘Forty Hour Train Back To Penn’ proves more popular with fans here, as ‘Kelly Song’ provides the real pinch me moment everyone’s been waiting for.

“We’d like to come back and see you soon, if that’s okay?” asks frontman Vinnie. “It’s a date,” he adds, as the room erupts with cheers. Frankly, any other response would’ve been downright awkward. So as he mouths ‘this means the world’ after the final notes of ‘Jamestown’, it’s clear that The Movielife’s comeback won’t be a short-lived affair. As special as tonight will be for fans, this isn’t the last we’ll be seeing of the Long Island legends in London. With time to settle in their roles, and to turn their minds to new material, their next visit to the UK stands to be even sweeter.

Photos: Sarah Louise Bennett / Upset