A morning of arsing around and doing very little and then out it was to the Star and Garter for the Christmas gig presented by the smooth headed stalwart of the scene, Mr Stu Taylor (STP). Arriving early full opportunity was taken to hang around the car park for an hour and down a bottle of lovely red wine and chat with varied miscreants who wandered this way and that. Travis McTucky and Graham Norris made for good company as did the ever chirpy Ratbag of Kingcrows infamy and professional homosexual Damo (of Mardi Gras Bombers) and his good lady (the man is living a lie I tell ya, a lie). In the frosty air we discussed the positives and negatives of the scene, Ratbags impending court appearances for molestation and Trav's views on primate buggery and the way it impinges on the growth of banana's! As words ran dry as well as the wine we all decided to measure our anal widths (or is that Ani) to pass the time and although I lost I guaranteed a lifetime sponsorship from Debenhams to promote their new range in Duffelbags - bonus! More chit and chat and inside we did wander to partake of ales and others views. Although the crowd was lowly at this point Stu the promoter seemed unflustered and was smiling away like a good un' obviously proving that the man is permanently bombed on Prozac and won't be ground down by the ones who are cursed with slackened posteriors. A few more faces appeared and good will was the order of the day and expectations were high for a solid six bander that would run as smooth as you like. At this point time was taken to pass water whereupon I discovered the aforementioned Trav and Graham copulating in the toilets whilst reciting statistics from that fine cricketing tome 'Wisdens Almanac'. I remained calm and ejected my liquids but when Trav started to repeat the phrase 'Howzat' with ever increasing passion I thought it best to squeeze, zip up and leave - nasty!
And so to the first band - Trioxin Cherry - a new crew for Fungal. First impressions were made after two solid openers rocked the joint and succeeded with oodles of surge caressed with sweet undulating tones and nicely timed riffage. The male/female blend of gob work added further interest and it was good to see all components get more and more settled and alter angles as easy as could be. From straight ahead numbers through to episodes such as 'Children Of The Damned' where things became more haunted and shadowed this was a minor treat and set the stall out for what would be another quality STP showcase. As the sonic mist weaved around one could almost taste the opportunities for progression that the crew were constructing and I always feel that any band whom constantly open doors for themselves must take pride in what they do and genuine comfort in their output. 'Run Jack Rabbit' was another choice number and in the mix of the entertainment we were given moments that crept, moments that cruised as well as a drum solo, some well rehearsed intro work and, may I add, a very sound end noise where all components complimented. A slight dip during one number affected the male vox but that was nothing whatsoever to do with the band and so they get a review brimming with praise and utter delight. Next time I'd like to see the lead lady really thrash out a screamfest with her fellow players keeping her arse on fire with some high focused playing but hey, I have no complaints and my thanks goes to the band for making this a pure joy.
A tin of ale, a brief excursion to set fire to a nearby taxi and back in and ready for The Vox Dolomites. The remnants of One Man Stand with added 'erberts this was a debut performance and one that was on my personal 'anticipation' list. 7 songs and in brutal truth a pile of absolute shit. I told the band they were good after the show because it arouses me to tell lies but alas this was total crap. Talentless and indeed pointless with all players void of life and stuck in a safety net of ridiculous idleness. Ooops – no, sorry stop there - the keys are typing in reverse with meanings distorted and words spilling out all round - screwdriver out, a hammer here and there - aaahh that's better. 7 songs and yes, yes, yes - fuckin' great stuff. My main criticism of One Man Stand was that they never let themselves go with the flow and that was a concern of what I may witness tonight. No such thing - this was a real thrill for me and captured a band unafraid to express themselves and let the music flow. The skanked moments were riddled with zest and vigour and each upstroke skipped from the stage swollen with life and confidence. To emphasise these two-tonish moments came some heaving punk outbursts that flew along and just flavoured the bands whole dish no end. Vocal duties were swapped and again created further interest and the orchestration of the delivery was in no means lost as each player knew his spot, timed it and contributed perfectly. I need to see these dudes again real soon and so do you - top class - the future is looking shite - er I mean bright - darn this keyboard!
Outside and lo and behold a gentleman of the night passed by, said hello and left me with a bottle of Harvey's Bristol Cream. What could I do but partake? Cheers Biff ye decent man! A few slurps and a chat with the lead lass of the next band and off she tootled to prepare for her set. Not far behind was old Fungal here and The Culprits cracked out a real orthodox punk lesson and displayed how far they have progressed since the last viewing I had of these minstrels back in Bradford earlier in the year on a STP/Fungalpunk joint promotion. On that gig they played a solid set but tonight had more swing in the acoustic hips, more spunk in the sonic sausage and more rock in the rhythmic rear. They certainly throw themselves into proceedings and retain a good fun element and once more I found myself enjoying a great punk performance. A skanky seasoning was included, some pounding drums added a beefy edge, and guitars made for a lean listen - yes another band to enjoy! Best song 'Gimme Something Else' - a real delight!
The ale was absorbing into the bloodstream, the Bristol Cream was warming the old addled head and still 3 bands to go.
The Kingcrows next and a band I have watched progress for a few years now and it is good to see them still plying their trade this side of the mountains. A good band I picked up on whilst on one of my many ventures over Bradford way and a band who have pleased me time and again with their outstanding repertoire of songs and showmanship. 'Magdalene', 'Sex Oui', 'One Of The Boys' - its all there and more with this band oozing confidence and skill and just giving the punter a very honest outpouring that lacks any flaws. The two wire wobblers go about their business in an exact style and work together to create a discordance that the stick bearer can beat along to and the vocal leader can thrive with. As a unit this lot get stronger and I am looking forward to a new year with new releases and new opportunities taken. Still one of the most overlooked bands on the circuit and it is beyond me why this band don't progress a lot quicker than they do - think on punter - get em' all rolling!
A tap on the shoulder and swivel of the toes and the night just got better - enter the fray my ex-work colleague and top dude Magic Man Moses - what a great chap. A quick flurry across the dance floor as way of welcome and words were exchanged and merriment was had (as well as a few more cans).
The most professional band of the evening next with Leather Zoo giving a polished edge to the nights proceedings with the luxuriantly feisty blend of riffed up rock. Thoughtful songs that pick and choose their way into your attentive soul this is a cultured cacophony with deliberate care given to efforts that slip forth rather than rely on being yanked out with extreme strain. Be it with trousers up or trousers down the band play well and have many moments to molest your mind with and to leave you nicely sonically fucked. 'Fleur Du Lys' always shines but 'Serial Killer' as ever tickles my trumpet and the way front lass Mel applies herself to each and every note is just fuckin' wonderful. The band came, got due appreciation and left with more glory earned - where they went to I know not as my head was starting to crumble under the pressure of all that alco-fuel. Best get another drink then.
A rest downstairs with that man Moses and a chat with more friendly faces (Big Daz I love thee) and upstairs for act 6 in the STP Theatre of Punk. Devilish Presley are a mean two piece with a real strong sturdy front lady who looks and sounds the part. Her partner in crime as regards the twanging club is a well oiled merchant who makes a right good din and contributes highly to the terrored duo. The gothic edge and horror themed output is flogged by many but so few convince - thank goodness the DP demons do and with a good tub-thump at the back we have a fine punked up ghoulish treat to relish. The vibe is unerring and that incessancy is what wins through to the doubters. The night needed a good tight organised outfit to close proceedings and the reliability of this crew proved right and out we went with a cracker. I must chase up a bit of noise from these buggers and capture their essence a little more - note to self - be prepared next time.
And that my good 'erbert is that. Mr Taylor produces the goods yet again and pulled in about 60 punters who I am sure fuckin' loved every minute of it. This was my last gig of the year and a sweet way to close - 61 all time new bands clocked up again and already looking down the barrel at another good haul next year with a few STP shows giving me a chance to view some firm old faves and one or two new treats - onwards folks, have a good un', and see ya in the New Year where I hope you do a little bit more for the scene and support the Underdog as best you can - its where the quality is and don't say I haven't told ya (on numerous occasions).
review by FP/OMD (19 December 2011)