Sometimes I just can't be arsed with midweek gigs as I have enough on my plate already and could do with my beauty sleep (although it never fuckin' works bah). Anyway I'd purchased a ticket in advance as I did fancy this one but after another day at work, more tennis and another long walk I could easily have stopped in and watched a DVD with my good ladies. I arrived at the gaff at 7.10pm to be greeted by the ubiquitous Mr Wong who informed me the place was now opening at 7.30pm – great - 20 minutes arsing about in the cold. Wong kept me good company until the doors swung wide and in I went to what was a rather lowly atmosphere. The good thing about ska gigs is that I am on the outside rather than the punk scene where I have over-dirtied my hands, know too much inside shit and so am pecked and wrecked as a consequence. It's nice to go to a gig and just be in the corner out of the way minding my own!
A bit of waiting was minimal before Dirty Revolution got the nights proceedings underway. I'd seen this crew once a couple of years back and was very much taken as I have been with the recordings I have heard and reviewed so far. This was a very sugar-sweet set with a good heavy bass rumble, some nifty guitar work, a good delivery of stick science and nicely delivered vocals. The band seem to be getting gigs aplenty and with performances such as this it is no wonder. The social commentary is neatly interwoven with political subtlety and played out via a soundscape of reggae/ska overtones. The whole concoction works and works well with no hidden agenda as regards pace, theatrics and such nonsense. Having watched and listened to each song carefully I really would struggle to find fault if I adopted anything less than a pedantic stance. The songs that stood out (partly due to familiarity) were:- '50p', 'Police' and of course 'I Love Reggae'.
The crew are obviously happy with their expulsions and so the only advice I would give is to just carry on. There are plenty of opportunities to catch up with this lot over the coming year so make sure you do just that! Skank on!
Random Hand came, hustle and bustled with energetic zeal and went away with the reputation in tact. This is a unit who play with a high-paced exactness and nail big riffs with accomplished ease far beyond the years of the band. The skank is mashed within a framework with other explosive sub-generic grenades that all erupt in unison thus making a very exciting spectacle. All components are well-versed in the chosen art and so contribute to the end montage with worthy produce. The frontman/trombonist is all action and bops and bounces with abandon thus encouraging the crowd to move a little more. Any band that throw their all into the fray gets my vote but if they can actually come up with some good songs then the musical moment is complete. Random Hand do just that and are worth a viewing by all and sundry.
Swiftly moving on it was the turn of US skankers Mustard Plug. A lot of 'under the counter' build up is always given to bands from across the pond and if one is old and wise enough then the obvious 'pinch of salt' is surely to be taken with each nebulous comment that floats ones way. I've heard it all before and unless the band can pull it off I couldn't give a fuck if they are from the moon. As regards gutterpunk where I doth dwell and from where my tastes are borne then the UK have it in the bag and beat all other countries hands down. Your more commercialised noise that parades as punk is a more close run thing whereas ska is open to debate although the new bands I am tripping across from this end really do the business. Anyway Mustard Plug were to close and this was my first viewing - what would I make of it? Well, it was an average set with one consistent level sustained but not the level I expected. It was a fair do but had me drifting off in parts and having to nip myself to pay attention. Musically the sound was mid-tempo and compact but no real highs hit my ears and I felt a little disappointed. Maybe a better bopping crowd could have got more out of the band or maybe it is just a question of taste and my palate didn't find this refreshing. The criteria that one has to assess when not enjoying a band is vast and varied and to go away and write a review and say they were ‘shite because I didn't like them’ is the work of a fool nay cunt. 1 viewing and the verdict is unsure for me and I will check em' out again for sure. The band have a solid and reliable fan-base and do have plenty of good songs in the mix which maybe next time I can analyse in a little more detail. Hey ho.
So rounding up I found Dirty Revolution to be my favoured band of the night, Random Hand to be the most visually exciting with many a riff to savour and Mustard Plug to be not to my initial liking. The turn-out was nothing outrageous and it was far from what I deem a punk gig and why the hell should it be? This was however another good showcase for ska and in my opinion the scene has never been finer. Cheers to BI Em for the show and get ready to enjoy your rest!
review by OMD (15 April 2010)