Mikey Wong, Manchester’s International Man of Mystery and top promoter had a gig at The Thatched House that proved a genuine temptation and worth the £4 door fee for this proposed 6 band Greaseball.  I was informed by Mikey that Manchester ska brigade Pendleton had pulled on the Friday afternoon which I gather left him a bit bewildered.  Not to be deterred the times were altered and the gig was set.

I turned up at 7.00pm and was met by a closed door.  With temperatures at freezing it wasn’t a night to sit about but ‘Fuck It’.  Banjo the landlord let in one of his bar staff gave me a quick glance and popped back in bolting the door behind him.  Better have a bit of bronze then ha, ha.

Anyway the doors eventually opened, a few faces arrived and the gig was afoot.

Local punkers Section 47 were the opening act and despite an improvement last time this seemed a real struggle with the bassist the only one who seemed to have any semblance of consistency.  The band are not gelling together and this is primarily down to not practicing and not playing enough gigs.  It really is as simple as that.  There is some good material there but power riffs are broken by messy skanking interruptions that are ill-timed and in some instances unnecessary.  Adam is a good frontman and I truly believe they can do better but some hard work is definitely needed.  ‘Don’t Care’ one of my favourites sounded a mess tonight but the track with the long instrumental intro (can’t remember the name) sounded mighty fine.

A chat with Adam later displayed a great lad who is frustrated and downbeat with the lack of progress and commitment.  He informed me one band member has lost interest so the question must be asked ‘Why are they still in the band?”

Personally I would carry on and strip back down to basics and concentrate on hammering the simple powers chords and drill it into the subconscious before any fine tuning was had.  We shall see!

Next a solo artist who goes under the pseudonym of ‘Name In Brackets’ an act I had previously seen once before.  And as in the last review the opinion was of a sharp-witted song writer who has a profusion of illustrious tunes but who should be aware that the vulgar one-liners have a shelf life and people soon get fed up with the same aged gags.  Nevertheless this was a good showing and the crowd lapped it up and really enjoyed the tales of booze, semen and day to day quibbles.  The Rancid cover was delivered most excellently but I think they are still shit so methinks it will be a case of more gigs in Canal Street for me then – aagghhhhh!

A bit of bronze to wage war on the chill and the demolition brigade hit the stage in the form of The Shadowcops.  Indeed if you want your eardrums blasting to pieces this Salford outfit are the ones to do it.  As expected a few people were informed beforehand about how good this outfit would be – and they certainly were.  It truly is a ‘different noise’ and the dynamic vitality these four rip-snorting musicians bring to the stage is quite admirable.  The drummer is authoritative and clinical and dishes out a concrete cacophony for the three string slammers to work with.  The bass thunders and flashes as the player becomes consumed by his own self-inflicted maelstrom – a tempest in which the 2 guitarists thrive, nailing every power chord and blazing solo with assured aplomb.  The odd note gets dropped here and there but it’s almost un-noticeable in this frenzied typhoon of acoustic aggression.  I ain’t picking a fave tonight because it’s all good and anyone who likes hard steel music had better check these lot out.  Remarkable!

Well, with the bar truly set Buzzkill had the unenviable task of performing next.   With a different approach and a somewhat polished delivery this group held on in there and despite being completely unfamiliar with any of their stuff I found myself enjoying this set.  The blend of brass and guitar when played at a rapid pace can sometimes derail but this lot held everything in check and looked very well rehearsed indeed.  I really should have got a few CD’s but with an overdraft currently on the four figure mark I was playing it a little safe tonight and in truth will be doing a for a few months to come.  Definitely worth checking out and the seekers of more skank orientated stuff will adore this for obvious reasons.

Lastly The Zatopeks, and in truth it was a good finale but as a reviewer I need another look.  The fact is I was expecting something different and with the Ramones advertising hint my mind was swayed into believing I would have 4 leather clad ‘erberts thumping out deliberate love ditty’s.  My failing really, but it did bugger my perception so forgive me for the nebulous ramblings and lack of clarity.  It was good, full of vim and vigour and had a frontman (complete with one 6 inch eyebrow) who really worked his ska-bby ass off.  Again the crowd lapped it up but I will re-assess on another date and see what I truly think.  So far so good though and I feel if you check these out you won’t be disappointed.

Well Mr Wong had come up trumps tonight and I hope he made enough on the door to break even.  He does a good job at promoting and any promoter who mixes up his styles and enjoys his gigs like this fellar is doing it for the right reasons.  It can be a real pain in the arse but when it comes together it all seems worth it.  Incidentally the crowd wasn’t too bad either considering he was up against 4 gigs in Manchester with 2 of them being The Adicts and New Model Army.  Not bad eh!

More please Mikey and keep enjoying the tunes!

review by OMD (19 Nov 2007)