Never Trust a Hippy
Stiff Little Fingers - Astoria, London 7.3.08For the Stiff Little Fingers gig, Jonathan (Mr Quo), joined Steve and myself on the trek to the Astoria in London - He was a little unsure beforehand, having never been to a punk gig before .... just Status Quo gigs!. Anyway we arrived at the Astoria and the place filled up pretty quickly. I'm not sure of the name of the support band (If anyone does know, please email me) but they were dreadful! Maybe they hadn't played a large gig like this before, but all we could do was clockwatch until they finally said their goodbyes. It was a quick turnaround and then Stiff Little Fingers came on. The first half of the set was from the 2nd & 3rd albums which I am not too familiar with, but then they started on all the old favorites. We had 'Nobody's Hero', 'Tin Soldiers', 'Wasted Life', 'At the Edge', 'Barbed Wire Love' and many others, finishing with 'Suspect Device', all as I remember them from vinyl all those years ago.
The first encore gave us 'Johnny Was' and the final encore was 'Alternative Ulster' which got everyone joining in and really was the highlight of the evening.
SLF were just brilliant! Looking back I could not fault the evening (apart from the choice of support) and Jonathan enjoyed it so much he's been out buying cd's and has asked what other bands we have lined up.
So ..... next will be 999 in Sheerness, then there is the Vibrators at Sheerness as well. If you're going, we'll see you there!
999 - Ivy Leaf Club, Sheerness 22.3.08999 was the next gig on our list - : This saw Steve and I traveling to Sheerness (No Jonathan this time, he wanted a quiet evening in, stroking his tickets for the upcoming Quo tour!). On the way to the gig Steve reminded me that years ago he swapped his Slits album 'Cut' for a Slaughter & the Dogs Live LP .... So, Steve, here is a reminder of what you gave away (lol)! Anyway, on with the gig. We finally found the Ivy Leaf Bar .. down a small unlit alley, it used to be working men's club ... say no more. The first band on were Bender Crack Corn, apparently an acoustic Punk/Skiffle band, they only did covers (Spice Girls, Beatles and Amy Winehouse). They were funny for 5 minutes then the dust on the floor started looking more interesting. A fun band but don't give up your day jobs lads. The second band, the Flithy Staypuft Marshmallow Men were better and had some good tracks not least their Ramones cover. They were a local band and brought some of their following with them. The final support were Crimewave, a cross between and Crass, Disorder and Public Disgrace. They were quite good and again brought their own following including wives and children. Finally 999 came on, well to say they had aged and changed would be an understatement ... Nick Cash is now around 16 stone and bald .. I didn't recognise him, it was Steve who pointed him out earlier in the evening. Still the music was as good as it always was. They did a couple of numbers from their new album and also did all the old numbers like, I'm Alive, Nasty Nasty, Emergency, Homicide, Feelin alright with the Crew, Titanic Reaction etc. In all it was a really good evening, 999 were superb and as it was such a small venue you could get close to the bands with no problems. Next up is the Vibrators, again at the Ivy Leaf Bar.
UK Subs - Ivy Leaf Club, Sheerness 20.6.08Our latest gig was once again the UK Subs - This time they were appearing at the Ivy leaf which we have frequented for the last couple of gigs. Also this time, Jonathan joined us, although the Status Quo tattoo was kept well covered up! The gig started with the The Kick Kick Murder Squad who I'm afraid to say were not much good ... no they were crap! They were swiftly followed by the 'Filthy Staypuft Marshmallow Men' (again!). Now, last time I saw this lot I was not at all impressed, but this time they were really quite good, I think they're growing on me now. Highlight of their set for me was the cover of Blitzkrieg Bop. Next on were All Flags Burn. Last time we saw them the sound system was rubbish and the vocals were completely drowned out, this time they were much much better and the band belted out their numbers. Wouldn't mind seeing them again sometime.
Finally on came the UK Subs with Charlie Harper looking even older than I last remember! However they blasted out the tracks along with my personal favorites Stranglehold and Warhead. I took a few snaps of the band but then Steve was dragged into the melee at the front, and, not wanting to be left out I handed my jacket to Jonathan and jumped in after him. Once we got back out Steve announced 'first time I've done that in 20 years!' .... we all looked for the puddle on the floor. All in all it was one of the best gigs so far. Real fun and good bunch of people who attended. Even Jonathan seemed to enjoy himself .... oooh there's a chance he could turn to the darkside after all!
Next up? .... X-Ray Spex ... maybe the Stranglers as well before the end of the year.
X-Ray Spex: Roundhouse, London 6.9.08Steve and I travelled up to the Roundhouse in Camden for the one-off X-Ray Spex gig. We did spend a couple of hours or so in pubs prior to the gig!!
We arrived at the Roundhouse to find it packed with 'old' punks and their kids! There were very very few people in their teens to 20's. The first band we saw were Goldblade. For me the jury is still out them. I didn't think they were bad, but then I didn't think they were that good either, still, they went down well with the audience.
When Goldblade had finished their set we had Don Letts do his DJ bit and then to massive applause Poly Styrene and X-Ray Spex took to the stage. I was interested to find out if Poly still had the voice considering she is now 51. I was not disappointed, she still had the high pitched discordant voice we all know and love, plus the energy to match.
Immediately after taking the stage they threw themselves into 'Oh Bondage Up Yours' and followed this with just about all the tracks from their album. All the singles were there, 'Warrior in Woolworths', 'The Day the World Turned Dayglo', 'Identity' and 'Germ Free Adolescents' which seemed to really go down well. The encores were 'Oh Bondage, Up Yours' and another rendition of 'The Day the World Turned Dayglo' Still to go this year we have the Stranglers and the Rebellion Festival.
Stranglers - Lees Cliff Hall, Folkestone 13.11.08For this gig we had the Quo fan, Jon, with us again .. he was the nominated driver as well - What more could you ask for? Well.... a good gig was the main thing! We arrived at the Lees Cliff Hall, which is a small but quite good venue, not really sure of what the Stranglers would be like. Once in we immediately noticed that most of the people around us were retired 'Mr & Mrs Suburbia' ! Now I am used to being one of the oldest at the gigs we go to, but this time I felt like a badly dressed teenager ... and to make matters worse there were even older people sitting in balcony! Just when I thought it could not get any worse the support band came out! This was Starbase 109 who say they model themselves on Kraftwerk. They are electronic crap to the point of being hilarious. The two guys (Montarg and Krayon) wear what look like Roman helmets and make a lot of arm gestures, and sing about android arms, gravedigging and vacuum cleaners! It was a massive relief when they stepped off the stage. After that I just wanted to go home. Luckily when the Stranglers appeared my mind was changed completely. The Stranglers leapt straight in with Grip and we were then treated to string of hits including 'Peaches', 'Duchess', 'Nice n Sleazy', 'Walk on By', '5 minutes', 'All Day and All of the Night', 'Always the Sun' along with other tracks like 'Tank' and 'Hanging Around'. The evening was now really rocking and the Stranglers were superb, Steve and I dived into the front for a while .. just to lap up the atmosphere! Even Mr & Mrs Suburbia were getting into it and seemed especially happy to hear 'Strange Little Girl' and 'Golden Brown'. The encores included Something Better Change and then a fantastic rendition of No More Heroes.
All in all i think this was one of the best gigs i have attended and I could not fault the Stranglers except that I would have liked them to do 'London Lady' and '96 Tears'. I may have been a bit harsh on Starbase 109, but they've been going 10 years now .. time to give it up guys !!
Next up ... the Rebellion Festival .. see you there !
Rebellion - London Forum 13.12.08To round off the year Steve and I attended the Rebellion all day Punk festival at the London Forum - What a day it was with 12 bands to see and the Damned headlining. We were looking forward to seeing the old bands again, in particular Penetration and the Damned.
It was a really shitty day weatherwise and when we arrived, damp, Picture Frame Seduction were on the stage and well into their set. They were ok and probably the best of the lesser known bands although they have been around since 1978, however our minds were firmly on getting a beer to start the afternoon off with. The turnaround time was around 15mins so there was not a long wait between each of the bands. Next up were The Rabble a New Zealand band who again were ok but not as good as Picture Frame Seduction. After this came Goldblade, who brought their own following as they did when we saw them support X-Ray Spex. I wanted to give them a chance as i was not impressed last time, but again i don't think they are my cup of tea, so i was quite glad to see them leave the stage. Next up were The Shapes, not very good at all and again i was happy to see them leave the stage.
Now we were starting on some of the bigger named bands and first up was TV Smith of the Adverts. The Adverts were always one of my favourites and I was looking forward to seeing TV Smith .. what a disappointment! He was on his own with an acoustic guitar trying to do all the old Adverts numbers .. it didn't work, it lacked a band playing behind him. So, with a heavy heart, Steve and I left the Forum in search of some lunch. When we returned TV Smith was a distant memory and we piled up to the front ready for the Radio Stars. They were awesome and the best band so far by a long way! At one stage Andy Ellison had leapt off the stage, into the crowd and continued singing from there .. this was slightly worrying as he had to ask guys on the front row to read his set list, his eyesight was so bad now! They belted out the numbers including 'From a Rabbit', 'Nervous Wreck' and 'Dirty Pictures'.
Steve and I stayed put apart from pee break and more beer ready for 999. Having seen them recently in Sheerness and really enjoyed them we were both looking forward them appearing on a larger stage. We were not disappointed, they were really good. All the old hits were pumped out 'Homicide', 'Feelin Alright with the Crew', 'Emergency', 'Nasty Nasty' and 'Obsessed'. They were the first to do an encore and finished with 'I'm Alive'. Nick Cash was the ultimate showman and strutted up and down the stage working the audience, really good stuff.
When they were done, another of the old favourites, the UK Subs, took to the stage Charlie Harper was more animated that previously, maybe he'd popped a few pills?? He was joined by Alvin Gibbs from the old line-up. Anyway they did another blinder of a set and didn't the crowd just love it, everyone was into the swing of things now. We had old favorites like 'Teenage', 'CID', 'Warhead' and 'Stranglehold'.
After another short break we were treated to The Yobs in black leather (Including a rather miserable keyboard player hidden away in the corner) and their string of Christmas songs. They were very good and really got the crowd going. The day was getting better and better. My only concern was that they didn't do my personal favourite .. 'The Worm Song' .. still, more beer and I didn't care.
Finally we were treated to one of our highlights of the day .. Penetration. Pauline Murray doesn't seem to have aged a day and put on a superb set. Only slight problem was that her voice was drowned by the lead guitarist. They did 'Don't Dictate', 'Firing Squad' and 'Come into the Open' along with a number of new tracks .. which for some strange reason she apologised for doing, they were actually quite good.
Steve and I now needed more beer so we left the front of the stage and it was a good job as the next band up were Johnny Moped. Now I know that Captain Sensible (Damned) and Chrissy Hynde(Pretenders) were early members, but I can only think the reason they got second billing here was the Damned connection ... they were bloody awful. He was like Roy Chubby Brown ... only slightly older and the songs were atrocious! Never again mate!
Last up were the Damned .. I had waited all day for this ... and was immediately disappointed! The Damned were what I could only describe as ... CRAP! They murdered 'Love Song' and 'Neat Neat Neat', these should have been 100mph Punk classics, instead they sounded like second rate cover versions by an MOTR band!!! They did one track 'New Rose' that was good, but the rest was rubbish with guitar solos and drum solos (with a guy that looks like Weird Al Jankovitch!) I always believed that Punk stood against the guitar solo bands that were around in the 70's, now the Damned have joined that elite group! It was so bad that we left before they did their encore, as did many more people all complaining in the same way we did. Apparently they did come out again and Captain Sensible did his 'Happy Talk' ...... I think that sums up the Damned's performance really.
Well .. to sum it up the day was crowned by 999 who stole the show for me, although they were closely followed by the UK Subs, Penetration, Radio Stars and the Yobs.
Lastly I'd like to thank Steve's Mum, who put us up for the night which meant we didn't have to travel home until Sunday .. and she gave us bacon sarnies in the morning .. MMmmmmmmm.
Well, that's all the gigs for this year. Next year kicks off with the Buzzcocks in Shepherds Bush .. see you then.