Over the weekend, early-noughties heroes The Movielife made their live return with two triumphant hometown shows at New York's Irving Plaza. We were there to witness it all.
When The Movielife return to England in June, it’ll be the Long Island/New York melodic punks’ first club show in the country since 2003. Anybody worried what the ravages of time have done to the five-piece shouldn’t fear, though – this first show since they announced their reunion back in December proves they’re full of ferocious fire.
After a stellar set from Crime In Stereo that sees the fellow Long Islanders rip through material from their four albums with vicious aplomb, the headliners emerge to a packed hometown crowd visibly pumped for what’s about to follow. They’re right to be pumped – the band throw themselves into what they’re doing as if this was still the early 2000s.
The acerbic, abrupt hardcore blast of ‘I Hope You Die Soon’ opens proceedings and is spat out with venom before the more melodic melancholy of ‘10 Seconds Too Late’ kicks off, sending the crowd into a frenzy. It’s a melee that doesn’t let up until the end – bodies surge forwards and backwards and arms and legs tumble over the barrier the whole time.
Caruana’s voice now is even more impressive than it was back then, and the likes of ‘This Time Next Year’, ‘Face Or Kneecaps’ and ‘Walking On Glass’ are full of ragged, urgent despair, his delivery powerful yet effortless. ‘Kelly Song’ and ‘Hey’ shimmer with extra poignancy after all these years, a baying crowd singing along.
Perhaps everybody’s older, but it’s clear that these songs still mean as much as they ever did, not just for the crowd, but the band too, as their heart-bursting smiles prove. A hearty singalong to ‘Sailor Tattoos’ rounds out the main set, but it is, of course, the pure, visceral explosion of ‘Jamestown’ that ends the evening in a sheer burst of beautiful and triumphant agony.