FUNGALPUNK GIG REVIEWS
The only reason for attending this gig was the raw talents and infectious enthusiasm of TV Smith, plus the fact that he's a damn good song writer with sharp lyrics and wit. For this gig I had no reservations because I knew that TV Smith would be good. Far from young, slightly misanthropic and very angry but still with the ability to smile this poetic preacher retains qualities that stand out in a sometimes too formulated punk rock scene. This is people prose at its best written for the man in the street. Everyday thoughts and problems encapsulated in the fuelled guttural screams of a frustrated rocker.
Not many usual faces were at this gig which was a bit of a surprise because I can't understand how anyone being into to punk rock cannot want to see its personification and spirit in the flesh. TV Smith sums up what punk is about - a DIY show with enough energy to blow the national grid and a lyrical thought provoking insight second to none. Bernie and Andy (The moth and bird men of Martin Mere) turned up which was good to see. Great blokes into just good music and worth a mention on any wildlife/music orientated website (so there you are).
And away we go.
The Spinning Fields and The People From the Wrong Side of the Street are better off reviewed together basically because this isn't my style of music and I don't have too much to say about it. Both miserable sounding bands with the occasional burst of optimism this is not my scene. As a neutral I suppose its good for what it is but I wouldn't go out of my way to see this again. Plodding and repetitive moody tripe with a subtle hint of lyrical vinegar (albeit slightly diluted) the whole ambience I found unpalatable. A few people jigged but then some people will jig to anything. Sorry chums but read a review on a more suitable website and get some genuine criticism because its all greek to me. If I was in an elevator and needed the accompanying background drivel then I suppose this was bland enough to fit the bill. I like energy and belief and here it lacked. TV Smith informed me he thought you were good anyway so there's a positive. But what does he know anyway? Only joking!
Now to review TV Smith is a different prospect altogether and one I relish. One man and his guitar going hell for leathers, full of urgency, spirit, enjoyment and self confidence. A trifle optimistic you think. No chance.
Up he stepped with that nervous laugh and unpretentious character bursting into a frenzied set that lasted for ages (but never long enough). Loads of new stuff was rattled off which I hadn't previously heard (I only got the new CD just before the set), but all delivered as expected. 'A Punk Poem', 'One Chord Wonders', the inevitable 'Gary Gilmores Eyes' and as requested earlier by myself, the glorious anthem 'Generation Y' all passed forth with professional and admirable conviction. Excellent quality throughout and a marvel to behold. Prior to the set I chatted to TV about how he classes himself and would he consider himself punk. He stated that despite the music not blatantly sounding punk the spirit was burning inside and that to enjoy the performance was important to himself as much as it was to his fans. And that is the key. TV Smith enjoys what he does and this comes across like a wave of infectious glory. Not one dull, disappointed face was in the Star & Garter during this display of middle aged angst. How could there be. There are bands all over this punk laden land that couldn't compete with this kind of contagious delight and most are a damn sight younger. Other tracks that stood out from this concoction of memorable melodic delights were 'The Future Used to be Better' and 'The World Just Got Smaller Again', but incredibly I didn't hear one naff tune all night. My wife and I both enjoyed everything we saw and I thanked TV for another perfect piece of punk. With his impish grin and a proud inflection he replied, 'See, now that's the enjoyment thing I mentioned.' Yes, I really do see and cheers for it.
Everybody I spoke to after the gig had enjoyed the proceedings and I noticed that TV's cd's were selling well. And so they should. Bernie & Andy enjoyed the show and were now off into the night on a moth trapping excursion so I bade them farewell and good luck.
Happy in the knowledge that punk is not just a young mans game but is alive and kicking in the more mature patrons of the scene I went home with my wife. A splendid evenings viewing to say the least.
review by OMD (15 September 2003)