Sometimes a midweek gig is a real struggle and when you are mentally and physically drained anyway it is a darn sight harder. Unfortunately my idiot punk desires need feeding or I suddenly get all tetchy and suffer from punk rock withdrawal. An awful sensation and one best avoided and what better way to keep this feeling at bay than attend a 5 band showcase in Manchester. Promoter and general all round cunt Dean 'The Wriggle' Diggle was away in Spain spending his ill-gotten gains and sleeping with young Spanish fruits (such is the way of a wayward promoter ha, ha) so the gig was left in the capable hands of ex-lorry thief and penthouse pervert Matt Martin (sorry for all the lies and ludicrous accusations - just one of those days and why the hell not - its me nerves you know). I was hoping the gig would finish on time so arranged a lift 15 minutes late so as to be on the safe side - even this wouldn't suffice - bah - come on dudes get yer socks pulled up. Anyway due to karate arrangements I was dropped off early (thanks love - again) and spent the time reading a book on Ground Beetles, supping a bottle of £3.90 Newcastle Brown (twisting bastards) and listening to a fuckin' awful sound check that went on far too long (however it did pay off in the end).
A few faces arrived, one of which was Mardi Gras Bombers drummer Trev. Trev was in a boastful mood and told me how he'd been masturbating over all the door handles in his hotel whilst at the recent Rebellion gig. Obviously out of his mind on curried excrement and prescription drugs no matter how much I tried to explain to Trev that this was diseased behaviour he just wouldn't listen and so his ravings continued eventually levelling out into tirades against the use of jelly rifles. Madness - but what can you do? His mate Graham seemed in saner spirits and although with skinless feet and hardly any voice he maintained a certain dignity throughout the evening although when he tried to expose himself outside the bar to a passing milk float the atmosphere did somewhat plummet. Steve 'kodak' Isles arrived and apparently snapped off 4376 photos during the night. Way below his personal 'click-o-matic' record but still exhibiting the skills he his renowned for in the world of mentally ill photography - nice attempt Steve! Recently Steve has had a drastic operation whereupon his penis was replaced by a 500mm lens - he offered to show me the optical organ in action but I refused - see I do have some sense. Anyway I wander off the path of the review - here we go...
The Austrian 'erberts The Forum Walters came forth (well first to be honest) and poured out a flamboyant set that really got the nights proceedings off on very sturdy footing. The frontman strutted and posed and played with advanced ease, the drummer pounded with gusto and glory, the guitarist twirled and swirled and knocked out a merry riot and the bassist played nimbly and added sweetness to a choice piece of toxicity. Visually effective with plenty of spirit the noise made was seeped in riffage, tattooed with rock 'n' roll zest and stained by positive experience. The bands Myspace site claims 'Punk Rock - good music played by lousy musicians' - with that sentiment I have to disagree as this was good all round and I for one fuckin' loved it.
From Sacramento in the United States came the next band who go by the name of Final Summation. I'd never seen these dudes before and so didn't know what to expect but what came was effective, high-powered and filled with a vitality that many US bands bring to these shores. A push for time seemed to force the band to play a swift belter and song after song was rattled out and hit the nail on the head each and every time. With such eager energy and surging songs it was hard to grasp the reins and assess fully but what I saw was very honest and very likeable and another viewing of these yank 'erberts would not go amiss. They complimented the first band nicely and had a hard working approach that held all components together. Big on riffage and high tempo the set flew past and left a nice aftertaste.
After the gig and before the review I did a bit of scanning around the web regarding both these bands and would like to commend them on their ability and efforts at sticking to the cause. These two units certainly put themselves around and that my good perusers will do for me.
Next we had the girlie trio The Smears. Mmmmmm - tits and toss or spirited and super? Forgive my cynicism but I have seen a few female bands over the years who have all the looks but no substance. Tonight this trio proved to be nothing so shallow and gave a good account of themselves and delivered a good set that was grunged and grimy but had enough inner juice flowing to keep the crowds most analytical punter entertained. When slowing the pace the band didn't seem as effective but when the tempo was picked up the three-piece thrived and thus attracted greater appreciation. The drums stabilised the noise, the bass sexually grooved and was rubbed up quite nicely and the front bitch blew hard and came away draped in colours of glory. No complaints only the issue regarding speed but a band has to keep it varied and whether or not that is all to my personal liking doesn't really matter as long as they are happy with their output. Just a pointer tha' knows! I should have picked up a CD to review but am a trifle pot-less at the mo and so withheld the temptation. Onwards the Smears will go and will be judged on looks as well as noise which in both ways should serve them well. I suggest they have a listen in to The Horny Bitches and see where that crew are coming from in the chaos they make - a fuller sound should always be sought!
Obsessive Compulsive dropped in next and are in truth the one band on the night I would normally find to my least favour. This isn't a punk band but a dark brooding machine filled with malice and sabled intent. If any one band I have seen this year are going to make a breakthrough into the commercialised world of bullshit and claptrap then the OC brigade are my tip. What they do they do admirably well and issue it forth with a force and talent one can't help but ignore. I hope when the big break comes they stick to their style and attitude and keep things very real and not get side-lined by ego grooming wankers and all things polished. They knock out a stunning noise ideal for small venues but is easily apparent that a big stage with good lighting and a good sound system would be very much to their liking. Many bands look good in a small gaff but few I believe can pull it off on the 'big stage' - OC seem capable - compliment enough. Tonight the stage was predated and held with all sonica superb. I thought the opening number was the only blip as it didn't make the initial impact necessary but after that it was all uphill with many a climax achieved within the labia of volume. The entire body of sound writhed at the Obsessive Compulsive touch and the audience were left nothing short of impressed and drained. Best singer of the night - easily -and the best song for me was 'Man v Machine' - a concrete cacophony.
Civet next and looking at the clock it was a case of a twenty minute peepshow and off. What I saw was fuelled with energy, scaffolded with bitchy confidence and attended to with smart musicianship. Civet have all the trimmings and all the backing to keep flowing upwards and being the expected 'eye candy' will do them no harm. Plenty of clout in the panties and plenty of belligerence in the bra's Civet do what they do well and I do need to see them again to fully assess.
A fuckin' good night with all bands to my utter liking. The fact I got a couple of all-time new ones in takes my yearly total of all time new outfits seen to 77 so I am quite pleased with that. Venue wise the gig worked well but the price of the ale is just a little too much for us punk rock piss-artistes. The sound was fine and the crowd not half bad. Is this a potential regular punk rock dive - we shall see.
On the way out I noticed the aforementioned Trev being scuffled into a police van by several frustrated coppers. During the fray Trev was wildly attempting to masturbate which must really have disturbed many an onlooker - very disturbing.
Cheers to Matt and Dean for a good un' and of course to all the bands.
FOOTNOTE: - Quote from promoter Matt Martin after the event and the review going 'live - 'The gig actually ran to time, just not the facebook page haha, we thought the venue had an 11 curfew but turned out it was 12 so when we got there we pushed everything back an hour later, there was set times on the walls, so in fact it might of been our first ever gig on time, although an hour later ha, ha' - a Fungal apology and a kick up the arse of Facebook
review by OMD (16 April 2007)