For some reason Ataris gigs always tend to have some kind of special memory for me whether it’s good or bad. The first time I saw them, back in 2001, was probably the best gig I’d ever been to at the time. Basically I met Kris Roe, got his autograph for my then girlfriend who couldn’t be there, saw her at the gig, gave her said autograph, then found out I’d been dumped. The Ataris were ‘our’ band – the gig took on a whole new meaning. Fast forward two years and The Ataris are coming to town again. This time through my Punktastic connections the ghost of that gig was erased with an interview with Kris and a bill that dreams are made of. With ‘So Long Astoria‘ about to blow them supernova, The Ataris major label dreams are dependent on them blowing away fans at shows. And guess what? They’ve only gone and bloody done it…

Arriving just as ANTIFREEZE hit the stage, the foursome are unfortunately hit by a terrible sound problem. The two vocalists are barely audible which is a great shame as the band do have more than the odd good song. Having said that, I’ve never been completely sold by the band and tonight I wasn’t overly wowed. They were let down by the vocals being muddy (not their fault) and having only marginally got over the excitement of the previous two hours, AF were always going to be an anti-climax (groan). ‘Ordinary’ is still a very good song and they definitely won over a barrage of new fans. Nice guys too. (6)

AUDIO KARATE just get better and better. And better still. One of the best up-coming bands around they were even better than on The Vandals tour in November which rocked off my socks completely. With an absolutely massive stage presence, AK’s sleeper hit record ‘Space Camp’ sounds even beefier live. Jason Camacho is a guitar god, giving Rufio speedster Clark Domae a good run for his money in the technical department, while Art sings along with gusto. The energy is apparent for all to see with the band bouncing off each other – literally. Jason promised on-stage fighting before the set and that’s what we got as Justo, Art and Jason kick and punch each other in a bid to put the other off. Needless to say it’s still note perfect, even when Art fails to land perfectly after a star jump off the drums. The best songs off the album all rock out, ‘Drama Club Romance’ batters and single ‘Nintendo 89′ probably gets the biggest singalong. ‘Rosemead’ is a personal favourite and I’m not the only one singing along and by the end of the 30-minute set AK have won over the vast majority. They’re getting better and better and at the current rate of progress Audio Karate will be headlining their own tour by the end of the year. Go out and get your hands on ‘Space Camp’ now – AK own. (9)

As soon as the band come out on stage and the crowd launch into “you’re better off without him, don’t call him, he’s breaking your heart” with the kind of sheer ferocity that can only signal 1,000 broken hearts, you know this is going to be amazing. THE ATARIS are absolutely on fire right now and if they come to your town you have to see them. Having jettisoned a lot of ‘End Is Forever’ songs from the set, tonight ‘Blue Skies…’ is the favoured album much to everyone’s delight. Opening with ‘Your Boyfriend Sucks’ is inspired as the pit works up into a sweaty throng – every word mouthed along with a black shirted Mr Roe who tears up the stage like his life depends on it. ‘IOU One Galaxy’ is dedicated to his wife Denice and sounds phenomenal and the rarely played ’1*15*96′ to me is the best song tonight. ‘I Won’t Spend Another Night Alone’ brings back some great memories, ‘Teenage Riot’ incites a mini riot and ‘Song#13′ sounds fantastic in a live setting. Single ‘In This Diary’ sounds brilliant live and ‘Takeoffs and Landings’ and the solo encore of ‘My Reply’ are the only two other newies aired. For old-skool fans there’s even a rare version of the Jawbreaker cover ‘Boxcar’. And let’s not forget a manic ‘San Dimas’. On the downside the 50-minute set is a little short and there’s nothing from the ‘Look Forward To Failure’ EP. But still, with sets as passionate and energetic as this you really can’t grumble. Towards the end Kris calls on a bootlegger to email him with the tape after the show because “this is a good one.” He’s not wrong. As he sings on ‘So Long Astoria‘, “life is only as good as the memories we’ve made,” and tonight was an event I don’t think I’ll ever forget. (10)

Cost of two tickets to the show – ¶œ17
Travel to get to the show – ¶œ40
Meet hero and see two amazing bands and have a fantastic night – PRICELESS

Paul