New Model Army @ Roundhouse – May 11th 2024
New Model Army @ Roundhouse – May 11th 2024

Live Review: New Model Army @ Roundhouse – May 11th, 2024

British punk/post-punk rockers New Model Army have been creating powerful, politically-minded music for nearly four and a half decades now. Their sixteenth studio album Unbroken, released in January, is one of the best yet, taking on themes ranging from Brexit to immigration to the recent British Post Office scandal. The band followed the release of the album with an extensive tour of the UK and Europe in February and March, but last weekend saw them play a packed one-off show at London’s iconic Roundhouse in Camden.

The set, of course, featured a large portion of the new album, with the high-energy “Coming or Going” serving as an opening salvo. From there the night continued with songs from that record interspersed between others from throughout the band’s career, including “Bittersweet” (from their 1984 debut Vengeance), “No Rest” from 1985’s No Rest For the Wicked, “Wonderful Way to Go” from 1998’s Strange Brotherhood, and “Stormclouds” from 2013’s Between Dog and Wolf. In particular, band leader and singer Justin Sullivan noted that it was the 35th anniversary of the group’s landmark fourth album Thunder and Consolation before launching into two tracks from the record, “225” and one of their best known singles “Green and Grey.”

The band has an intensely dedicated audience (often referred to as “The Family”), and they were out in full force for the show. The faster songs drew an intense mosh pit in the center of the crowd on the floor, and throughout you could hear people singing along with Sullivan’s poetic lyrics.

Ned’s Atomic Dustbin might not have seemed like the most likely opener for New Model Army, but their high-energy set almost certainly won over any doubters in the crowd (and more than a few of their own dedicated fan following were there, and were almost certainly won over by New Model Army as well). Though the band has released very little new material since re-uniting in 2008, their set proved why they continue to be fan favorites, with singer Jonn Penney and the rest of the group sounding as good as ever on classic tracks drawn mostly from 1991’s Godfodder and 1992’s Are You Normal?, including “Intact,” “Not Sleeping Around,” “Grey Cell Green,” and “Kill Your Television.” Fortunately the band was given a full hour to play, allowing them to do nearly a full set.

It has unfortunately been years since New Model Army or Ned’s Atomic Dustbin have been to the US or Canada. New Model Army were regulars in the early 2000s, but then abruptly stopped and haven’t returned since 2010. They’re playing several dates in South America (and Mexico) in June, followed by a round of the European festival circuit in July and August. Ned’s Atomic Dustbin haven’t been back since their initial run ended in 1995. Based on the strength of their performances at the Roundhouse, it will be essential to see them if and when they decide to head to our shores again.

PHOTOS © MATT CONDON

New Model Army

Ned’s Atomic Dustbin

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