This past Friday, I headed out to Philadelphia’s Union Transfer to catch legendary UK oi punk band Cock Sparrer grace Philadelphia for the 2nd time ever in their long career. The venue sold out relatively quickly once the show was announced, and with a pretty diverse punk lineup, there was a nice mix of spiky jackets, skins in polo, hardcore kids, and older punks who were listening to Cock Sparrer when they first came out back in the 70s. I missed The Casualties but got there in time for H2O.
I wasn’t sure the type of reaction H2O would get at a Cock Sparrer show, but the second they took the stage a pit opened up with hardcore kids two-stepping and shouting along. Forming back in 1995, these guys have been a staple in NYHC, bringing a more melodic sound to a scene often dominated by bands such as Sick Of It All and Madball.
The band seemed in high spirits, saying how awesome it was to be playing to so many new people who’ve never heard them before, and they blast through their anthems for a relatively short set. Since I wasn’t feeling very well I was trying to not go nuts, but i couldn’t help but jump in and two step during a few songs. Always a good time, I’m hoping H2O comes around again soon to a smaller venue that they headline.
Setlist (From what I remember, not in order)
One Life One Chance
5 Year Plan
Guilty By Association
Nothing To Prove
I caught Cock Sparrer about 2 years ago when they came around to Philly for the first time and the show was nothing short of unbelievable: so much energy from both the crowd and the band. This time was no exception… Cock Sparrer took the stage after a lengthy musical intro, and immediately started playing the two note siren of Riot Squad which had everyone in the crowd moving and shouting along.
At one point, they took a second to say how Philly is the loudest and craziest crowd they’ve ever seen, and said “I know what you’re thinking, he says that at every show. No, I’m being serious I even posted it on facebook before.” Usually I’d write this off as typical band working the crowd, but I’ve known people who flew to England to see them, and they said that it actually is much crazier here. Maybe we’re all just really angry oi fans.
Cock Sparrer played an incredibly solid set taking songs from most of their releases, with a heavy focus on their most popular Shock Troops, but every song got a huge reaction from us. It’s rare for Cock Sparrer to play many shows in the States these days, only coming over for a select few. I’m lucky enough that Philly is now one of their go to staples.
Watch Your Back
Again and Again
Teenage Heart / Droogs Don’t Run
What It’s Like To Be Old
Price Too High To Pay
I Got Your Number
Because You’re Young
Take Em All
Where Are They Now
England Belongs To Me
We’re Coming Back