5th October 2018 - Academy 3, Manchester

The Sonics are a band who have a long and somewhat overlooked history. They formed in 1960, are a garage-rock band from Tacoma and after a ruddy long hiatus are back on the stage rocking and a rolling with respectful gusto. The opportunity arose for me and the missus to catch up with them and we needed no second chance. Despite putting a cull on 'bigger' gigs and having my head joyfully in the DIY gutter sometimes an exception is had (never say 'no' and all that). Such was the case here and, the bonus was, the show was to be held at the Academy 3, a venue that always does the business unlike the other, bigger show rooms. We arrived, had a drink and chatted to some lovely folk we know from the Blackpool Punk Scene. The opening act warmed matters up and put forth a decent set I thought so take a bow 'Creature Comforts' and hopefully I’ll catch you again soon. The stage cleared, the punters arrived and after a promise-laden wait The Sonics hit the ground running, and this is what I got for my money.

The set opened with a fizzing rendition of Cochran's 'C'mon Everybody', a mere crowd pleaser and set settler to open the gateway for far more convincing numbers. The cover was done well, but man I was gagging for the original material. 'Shot Down' and ‘He's Waiting' flashed by in the twinkling of a delighted eye but the first zenith, and one of the moments of the night, came via the modern classic that is 'Sugaree', a song taken from the latest album, which in truth, is without faux pas or cacophonic duffer. This is my favourite track from that said masterpiece and what a fuckin' pinnacle it was. Buzzing with life and gumption, laden with a heavy hook and allowing the set to sail onwards with all flags of vibrating riffery flapping hard – man what a moment! 'Have Love Will Travel, 'Be A Woman' and 'Cinderella' are unabashed classics of the sub-vaults of noise and duly went down a storm with everyone in attendance. The players were confident in their manipulations, the output was tighter than the arse of Ebenezer Scrooge and there wasn't a disappointed face in the room. Solid song after solid song rammed up with abrasive chord progressions and unavoidable tonal aggressions came with 'Keep A Knockin' a fluid mimic, 'Louie, Louie' a sexual grind of irresistible persuasion and 'Lucille' and 'Money' finalising slabs of reliable concrete to keep the head clanging. The set closure came with the unassailable scream and screw stunner called 'Psycho, a delightful full stop to a cluster of scatterbomb numbers to incessantly applaud. An encore was a matter of course and we were treated to a trio of tunes as good as anything you are liable to get anywhere in this acoustic whirlpool.  'I Don't Need No Doctor' is another late release grinding out hard riffed assuredness, 'Strychnine' is a rocking giant that tramples all in its path and gets them following in due abeyance and ' The Witch' is the exclamation mark that whams, bams and thanks with a damn in true Sonicised style.  Yes!

This had been a stunner, I was taken aback, the new album next spring is on the wish list, I hope they tour because if they do I shall be sniffing out tickets straight off the bat. As I finish writing this I dig out my Sonics CD's and play, fuck man, even an old punking git like me can still be aroused by the good old artform of noise.  Like I say, despite being a backstreet DIY dog at heart I can recognise a darn good band on a bigger stage any day of the week - even a Friday in a cold and damp Manchester. It was worth the brass, the time and the effort!  Cheers chaps!