Double Jameson’s and pints of Guinness were enjoyed in abundance last Thursday in Tuffnell Park, in what felt like a celebration at Dublinners Sprints’ largest headline show to date. Since their last visit to London, a sold-out Moth Club in March earlier this year, the crowd has more than doubled in size – not surprising after the success of their 2022 Modern Job EP, Glastonbury and love from the likes of BBC Radio 6.
Tucked behind the steep Victorian grandeur of the Boston Arms, The Dome is a friendly, sticky, rowdy venue; what was once a community swimming pool is now a well-loved champion of live punk music. Amongst fans were the band’s friends and family, many of which had travelled from Ireland and beyond to help sell out an iconic establishment. Despite the bigger stages and taller ceilings, the band manage to ignite and maintain the energy of a smaller venue, with fans scooping up certain tracks as firm favourites but energetic throughout. “This is unreleased” announces Karla Chubb, the mistress of ceremonies, “but it’s a fucking banger if I do say so myself”. As the track builds the audience erupts into agreement.
It would be impossible to write about a Sprints gig without mention of Karla; the phenomenal frontwoman and entertainer, who – with great balance and composure – guides the audience into sweat drenched submission. She has many different characters; her stage presence is ever changing as she commands, seduces, heckles and serenades. She lights a match and the audience explode during ‘Delia Smith’, “audience participation!” she laughs as the crowd echo the lines “who wants to be special anyway?”.
In the space of a few months the band have become very aqcuainted with their live show, and this translates at The Dome into what feels like something momentuous for the band. Irish artists continue to thrive with investment from fanbases and the music industry in Ireland, so it makes sense that Sprints would already appear to have a loyal following. And why wouldn’t they? Every show feels like a party. “It takes a village to raise a half decent band” says Karla as she bids farewell to the crowd “and we took a whole fucking town”.
Words: Rachel Mercer // Photos: Niamh Barry