FUNGALPUNK GIG REVIEWS
Invited to wander down to this event, catch up with a few faces and review proceedings I took the opportunity despite feeling a bit tired from yesterday’s trip to Cumbria in search of the Scotch Argus butterfly. 107 of the silent velvet flutterers were seen as well as several other species and plenty of blooms. A good walk around Arnside Knott and Warton Crag and a late night were all enjoyed hence the fuzzy felt feeling today.
I arrived at 2.30 prompt and, due to experience, didn't expect the bands to start on time. These all dayers usually have the odd drop-out or two and today was no exception, although I didn't expect the lengthy wait for the first band or the crazy gaps between the first 4 units that really had me on the brink of pissing off home and forgetting the whole affair. I be a stubborn old sod though and despite stating several times that I would watch one more band and scarper I somehow lasted until the end (albeit a few tracks short of the final bands set). So, here is my take on events, in all that glorious honesty.
Buff came and played to a paltry 10 punters which briefly peaked at 11 but soon fell away to a single digit - so much for the Manchester punk revival. What this crew offer is a tribal, political, anarcho beat that is rough and ready and without make-up. Rupturing the drum skin on the first song hindered output (use yer foreskin then) but the crew battled on with the primitive racket reaching good highs via the taut guitar work that nicely overlay the open wounds of the drums and bass. The sound was much to be expected on this monochrome day and all was sodden in a retro feel that was grimed, protested and sub-cultured. The finale was a track that flourished and asked for free thinking - mmm- many in these fractured scenes need to listen up I reckon. Not a bad beginning to the day and with the first melodic mushrooms cultivated from the shit and hidden decay of Manc Land I awaited my next helping of composted cacophony.
Pondering the ambience, the time warp continues...but the relevance is there. Wake up and smell the rancid rot of the 21st century and you may consider the words for what they are...we need this mush!
The Crash Mats. Now, if ever a band has shown an improvement in their overall output this is it. Fuckin' hell I thought I'd got the wrong unit! The opening was boisterous and in yer face with an almost 'Oi'esque accent that clobbered the senses and made one sit up and take note. Moving on from the brutal into the vulgar with 'Rubber Struck' and 'Porn King' keeping the melody high and duly entertaining the promoter Jason who skipped around with utter glee. A quatro triumph built on jarring bass, fungalised guitar, clattered drums and shouted gobbage - not bad at all! The acoustics of the venue obviously suited the crew and although only 16 people were watching - they all loved it. 'Big Fat Party Animal' gave more melody and increased the rock and roll essence and several skanky moments shone with the segment found in the song about super heroes (or was that super villains) a choice cut. The crowd swelled and we were almost over the 20 barrier and the set bounded along on merry heels (with fluorescent pink shorts adding extra enthusiasm it seems). 'Monster' squelched along, brought routine and suddenly we were winding away to the last strum. 'Get Me Off This Ride' was a solid sub-instrumental which struck a chord then 2 more songs and done. Phew - this band are climbing upwards.
Mundane eyes, it ain't no surprise - contribute sweet FA, fill a role walk away...
and after a lengthy wait that bordered on the plain old stupid the sound of miserable silence and foolish twattology fought for the fore, no bands this way came, organisation had fled but then the gig continued with...
Black Light Mutants. Grim, visually stimulating, a machine functioning more smoothly with each outing. The crude cacophonic oil the band bathe in and duly splash forth is a crummy delight filled with glorious touches wasted, it seems, on many addled twats. Not me - I love it and applaud the band for the art/anarcho combo that they do so well. A better crowd now but maybe a few clues were still missing! One of the best bands on the circuit at the mo with many layers evident and all components feeling more and more at home in their role. Messages, conundrums, power rushes, waiting threat and an opportunity to glance back but stare forward - do not get stuck in the shit of your scene that doesn't exist - the Black Light Mutants look the right way and so should you. Joey gesticulates with fervour rather than the many who masturbate with fever and the relevance of the band is quite exhilarating - have some!
More waiting, contemplating and down for a beer or two and back up for Pressure Drop. The crowd were active, the band soared along on shimmering sonic reggae cum ska cum punk heels and what I witnessed I enjoyed. I had seen the PD pirates a few weeks prior and reviewed accordingly - I am refusing to repeat myself in short spaces of time these days - it was fine and dandy today that is all I need had.
So 5 hours in attendance and 4 bands seen - aaagghhhh! Come on ya bastards what the fuck is going on?
Chits and chats and back up for the thoughtful punkage of Pedagree Skum, a band that tick all the right visual boxes and who, after tonight’s showing, have convinced me that there is a whole lot to come from this crew and they really are starting to find their soiled feet and produce the expected goods. This was a stunning set of spite-filled, sanguine and forceful punk that was constructed around themes relevant to the band and relevant to today’s shit-soaked society. All areas are combining to create an end result that rolls around the palate with ease and is digested with relish by anyone hungry for unpretentious DIY punkage. 'Pigs' was choppy, bouncing and a prime example of the increase in stature the band are currently going through. Katie at the fore is more commanding, the bassist more apparent and effective, the guitar experimenting, strained and successful. Sticks batter away and create the extra 'ooomph' needed and it goes without saying that songs such as 'The Autistic Song' thrive as a result. Warning to the band - do not let the potential slip from your mucky mitts - grasp it, squeeze hard and enjoy the ride you make. Spot on indeed - be proud!
Another ale, oooh me buggered legs - next please.
Brace For Impact - is that a request? This new outfit is made up of not so new components (sorry ya bunch of old buggers but the truth I doth speak). This was the bands second gig and by diddly fuckin' bum - what a powerhouse of passion and experience. Bang, bang, bang and each and every number was rammed up the on-looking shitter with brutal intensity and as an initial viewing this was mightily effective stuff. The fellars are amiable chaps which will serve them well but the music will carry them along, of that there is no doubt, as many punters out there like nothing better than a full on mind melt of aggression. A fine delivery with my only criticism being that the heavy blows need breaking up by softer jabs so as to vary things, create the unexpected and of course add pure contrast. It will assist the longevity of the band, attract more followers and most crucially - push the band as musicians. For now though - a big well done from this Fungal Fruit.
Evil Eye quickly pursued with a middling 80's onslaught of wipe-out crustiness. Textures aplenty, raw, a desire to discord, a real flourished piece of unsettled punkage that went at it, shook the throat of the listener and went away with some triumph. 'Shitbag' was a notable song that had plenty of zing and appreciation from the increasing pisspot brigade. The flashbacks created to gigs of yesteryear may or may not have been intentional but were there nonetheless and once again I had that word 'relevance' niggling my noggin. For me if one is hungry and angry enough then that should suffice although for many it seems this punk game is a mere hobby and not a way of thought. I like what Evil Eye were doing here so give em' my vote but I do need another viewing to fully comprehend the flow.
Finally Disorder and despite this band being the main draw, and against all nostalgic ties (which utterly disgust me and insults my musical integrity) I found the band run of the mill, as expected (although a bit more melodic) and not as effective as the dancing, attentive crowd would con you into believing. The problem Disorder have is that their original chaotic mayhem has been done over and over by many bands and in most instances - bettered. When they first erupted on the scene like a festering boil on the arse end of punk I picked up their debut EP (Complete Disorder) in 1981 and was far from impressed. In truth nothing has changed and although I like a little sprinkling of hardcore my tendencies have always been to the short, sharp shockers or those with more melody in the mix. Time has changed nothing as regards my outlook of this band and I am sure Disorder never set out to please everyone (and why should they)! I left before the finale and headed home fagged out and with ears buzzing once more.
So another gig at The Star and Garter, again a different crowd occupying a sub-scene and refusing to cross bridges and yet more bewilderment on my part at what is a sonic struggle to get people to pull together for the underground noise. I reckon about 60 paid in today which ain't bad, but alas the first bands got the expected shit end of the attention stick and the headliners got the most acclaim despite being, in my opinion, the least effective. All I can do is scribble my views and whatever your punk is or your thoughts I hope it will inspire you to do your bit. I'll write this and get thanks and criticism in equal proportions but the fact is many point fingers and do fuck all - aaagghhhh!
Support your scene - well I don't have one, never have, never will - think about that and wander.
Cheers to Jason Douglas for inviting me down to this and cheers to him for his great friendly nature and fuckin' mad approach to doing gigs - ha, ha - he should be shot but he his such a nice guy.
Keep on keeping on and don't look around you - look inside and ask - is it real?
review by OMD (12 August 2012)