31st October 2018 - The Star and Garter, Manchester

Headsticks now need no introduction! Headsticks have progressed from a promising bud of musical hope to a full blown flower of fruitful and rewarding essences.   They come with a political point to make, an attitude of 'enjoy this and think' and leave the onlookers, each and every time, impressed.   I first caught up with them at a socialist event where they plied their trade in a small upstairs room for a seated audience of a certain leaning.   What they did was ruddy marvellous and backed up their recorded material in no uncertain terms.  Tonight, myself and my missus took the opportunity to catch up with the band (my 11th viewing so far) and this is what transpired.

A sweet journey down listening to Terminal Rage, Jesus Hooligan and The Sonics and into the gaff for a jaw wag and a drink.  I sold a few Nettle Books, considered the punk scene and exchanged good words with the Headsticks frontman.   Time tickled, upstairs we went, took up our positions and the band under the spotlight did their gratifying bit.   The set began with two long term familiars, namely 'Mississippi Burning' and 'Flatline Town'.  Both were executed with lubricated efficiency and smacked high of pluckers in the zone and masters of their art doing their job at hand.   The second song holds a tender spot in my archaic ticker as it was one of the initial triumphs that turned me on to the quality outfit.   From here we were donated the ditty known as 'I Love You, But...' a song that has gradually won me over after an indifferent relationship where it just didn't sit right on my ever-ready acoustic lap.  It is now a solid pearl in a glowing trove of diamonds and I consider myself 'converted'.  'Cold Grey English Skies' is an emotive provocateur, 'Paper Flowers' perhaps best hailed as the greatest musical expulsion to date - what a cultured, erudite and quite prosaic moment this is, a moment with much underestimated power that sees the band ascend to platforms untold - magnificent.  Next and a lesson in how to excel was had with 'Dying For A Lie' and 'Family Tree' 2 examples of a band working as 4 individual components but pulling together with great unity.  The guitar was varied, manipulated with artistry and toned up and cooled down with general authority.  The bass was played with casual yet correcting control, the man working the 4 wired wank weapon a well-versed masturbator of his chosen tuned up tool.  The drums are scuttled and slapped with care, nothing vulgar or untoward here - just a fine disciplined approach and a knowledgeable naturalness that displays a craftsman at work.  The gobbery up front is done with style, charm and a fine beating heart - the stage is held, the crowd embraced, the lugs wooed.  The closure came after a 40 minute stint (right up my punk street) and was none other than 'You're Killing Me America' - need I say more.  We were more than satisfied and went away still convinced of this progressing unit.

After the gig I brought a long overdue Headsticks hoodie and we gave our thanks to all concerned.   This had been a worthy pootle for two tired buggers who never sit still and the good news is that Headsticks are set to play locally again and are doing an unplugged set for yours truly next October.  In the interim there will be single releases and a new album - for all ye converts and general music lovers - we have much to be thankful for in the music scene - Headsticks are one glowing example - ta chaps.