FUNGALPUNK GIG REVIEWS
The first gig from the hands of Fungal of 2015, a year that promises to see me try to stick to my ethos of showcasing a variety of sounds on one gig whilst severely pissing in the wind and making very little progress - nowt new there then. Over the years I have stuck to my blazing, passionate guns and done it with essential pure bomb honesty thus mowing down many spineless bastards and blowing up many fraudulent bridges - it has cost me dear but I wouldn't do it any other way. Tonight promised to be a busy one, but digital promises mean nothing and the whore of the webwaves is nothing short of a deceitful bitch with many caught up in her reality free fabric loaded with bewildering shit-stained crosswires. With many hands keeping punk in comfort zones, many not willing to do anything that doesn't directly afford them gain and of course the usual big band, kiss arse attitudes I expected only the stalwarts to show, and even some of those couldn't be arsed. Hey ho, to the one's that did, good on ya and big respect and sincere thanks for getting off yer arses and checking out a right mixed bag.
I arrived at the venue in good time, gave salutations to my partner in crime for the evening and his lass on the door (Stu Taylor and Sam Taylor take a bow) and wagged my jaw about this, that and fuckin' t'other - blah. A brace of early faces chatted too and whilst waiting for the bands we headed indoors and shared a beer or two. Posters paraded gigs to come (not mine though – oh yes), people entered at a mere trickle, the beer began to flow but in strict moderation with 4 bottles of sherry left at home simply because I need to be good for a change.
Right, after much ado about something, The Mispelt finally arrived (darn buggers) and dashed upstairs, did a brief soundcheck and got proceedings underway (at last). Now I have been dealing with this lot for some time now and seen them go from a three-piece, to a four piece back to the original trio and seen them, in the main, not get due credit for their technical ability and knack for composing darn good tunes. Tonight, without the distraction of that wondrous lead lass (which I mean in the nicest sense because she was an absolute gem) it was good to get back to basics and study the band as musicians and see the effort poured in and the 'tight as a gnats chuff' application the band exhibits. They are indeed maestros of their style and blast forth a rapid fire set with the execution quite fuckin' admirable. In fact, the no-nonsense delivery really accentuates everything that is good about the band and keeps them alert and happening without having to pause for thought and over think their output. 'Friends Like You' was my chosen top of the pops number but so many vied for the pinnacle from a set of real storming consistency. A bloody fine start!
Next and to a somewhat new band on the block, The Poly-Esters, an all female crew semi-fronted by that minxy mistress of mischievousness Syphi Lizz. The style here is garagely grunged with moments of free-wheeling fun interspersed with splats of bitch fever rage all interwoven by subtle intricacies and blatant vulgar riff ups. The undulating mix of sensations and the somewhat unpredictability of what will come next make for a intriguing mix of aural pleasure not to be taken too lightly. As many realise, put 4 girls in a band and get em' strutting their stuff on stage will undoubtedly bring a sway of appreciation from the more warped gentlemen in the crowd who place emphasis on muff rather than melody - a real curse but something that needs emphasising to bring out the point that these girls are decent musicians who are combining well together and pushing forth many a good fuckin' tune. In parts the set cruised and was done in a sweet sassy spirit whilst in others it shivered many a timber of tone with an all out attack of all components. I liked it, on this evidence the lasses are welcome on any Fungal show and I think the response they got was well deserved - it will be interesting to see how they progress.
Next and to the cultured approach of Propane 4, another swing in the days approach with this lot throwing forth some well thought out and well rehearsed tunes reliant on, in some ways, delicate nuances and considerations of essences from yore and the morrow. For me this was an ascending set, one that laid out firm foundations, gained a reliable foothold and just rose and rose to greater gratifying heights. The impetus soon gathered wasn't given up and thoroughly absorbing episodes such as 'Tough Shit' and Bullingdon Boys' just rubber-stamped the quality of the crew and the fact that they have an ear for rewarding melodies and somewhat emotive tuneage. Rage reared its venomous head in parts, focus never wavered and rhythmic affluence was frequent throughout to make a discordant donation that would stick in the noggin and cause much further consideration. This band have something, a certain punk factor built on more than just 3 chord wankage. Whatever the nebulous ingredient is, I hope they keep cultivating it and enjoying what they do.
The Johnny Squizzercrow Experiment next, a band with trouble at' mill. The singer wouldn't make the effort, the crew seemed disgruntled, but, and most importantly, the buggers made the effort, drafted in a dude to do the oral duties (nasty bugger) and got up and gave a performance that was of course patchy, inconsistent and somewhat on the cusp of collapse but, for connoisseurs who accept warts 'n' all escapades this was a delight to indulge in with the guy at the fore reading his lines, missing the odd few and being tremendously aided by his backdrop of focused and patient players who stuck to the task at hand and helped pull off perhaps the most 'purist punk' upchuck of the evening. It goes without saying some didn't get it, but it must be stated that some long term casualties of the spiked scene did and really lapped up the stinking, surreal effluence that dripped forth. I appreciate that and was very glad I had included these in today's lucky dip of tuneage. I must check out more of these players - it is a curious angle from which they dangle.
Skank Agenda hit the floor next - literally, and stepped down with two acoustic madmen fluttering like fuckery and a pinging and prancing gobman really immersed and counterpunching against the flow - what a marvellous effort this was and again captured the glorious untamed, unprocessed DIY elements I thoroughly believe in and try to get some semblance of balance for. The bands whole attitude and approach is what the scene was made for and despite many taking time to natter downstairs rather than fuckin' lap up this three-way treat of primitive noise the crew pulled out an absolute stunner that had everyone who had made the effort thoroughly absorbed. Skank Agenda are not in this for coin or fashion, you can see that the band are in it for nothing more than to gob off, have fun, make the odd essential point and piss up the walls of conformity by just doing what they feel natural with. The best way to some up tonight’s performance was by the fact there wasn't a disappointed face in the gaff - except for those that missed it - how's that? Up the Skank, up the Agenda, more please, more!
From a bout of madness to a more sobering onslaught of folked not fucked execution by a band I sincerely hold in high regard. Headsticks deliver thoughtful, cultured and erudite avalanches of musical architecture designed by hands that know their script, rumple it up and re-write it in the most delicate way. The foundations of the prose come for sources aplenty and deal with themes such as injustice, war and greed (amongst many others) and are delivered with utter belly fire passion and acoustic intricacies that the portrait of sound proffered may be not to the tastes of the general punk populace - tragedy indeed. Songs such as 'A World Away', 'Killing Me America', 'Paper Flowers' and the simply classic 'Flatline Town' are borne from the loins of fair thought and spill over you with exacting, magnetic class that should not be shunned or ignored in any way but alas, very few audiences are wholly eclectic and many tones soar over heads that are looking for easier alternatives. I loved this set, as did a few others and I hope that the Headsticks do indeed stick in many heads and get their just rewards for some fascinating tunes.
And lastly, a band that have asked me to manage them and whom, I would gladly like to, but time doesn't allow and my reputation for being outspoken, unpredictable and controversial would only hinder their sure-fire escapades on to bigger and better things (see I do care). The people involved are gents, totally up-front, without deceit or devious designs and say it how it is - it is my pleasure to know them. The fact that every gig I have put them on thus far they have been there to support all bands, are always willing to share their gear and embrace the whole shebang with that elusive punk rock attitude make them always up their in my thoughts when booking gigs. The added bonus is that their music is fuckin' good too - fun, uncomplicated and always on the cusp of rankling a few nervy types - nice. Tonight, once more, the band lapped up the adulation and did themselves proud with an idiotic set filled with vulgarised comic capers. 'The Ghost Of Jimmy Saville', 'Clean Up Your Dogshit', 'Danny Is A Tranny', 'Gordon The Traffic Warden', 'Cardinal Kid Fucker', 'Scrap Metal' and 'Human Pig' are fast becoming noodle-soaked classics and for anyone wanting just to switch off, fuck about and pogo this is a treat for yer lugs. My worries only arise in hoping they don't get too absorbed with the same old songs and cater for the punters which will undoubtedly restrict their style - just keep em' coming and keep the set list rotated and there will be a good long life in these dogs for sure. Along the way applecarts will be tipped over, egos niggled and fools not suffered but that is the HLH way and if there is any justice, their honest, hard-working and reliable approach will get paid back...big time. As per, I am right behind ya chaps.
Before I go I was requested to write a more easily digestible review of HLH for those with a streak of cretinism inside - hey I ain't prejudiced, gotta cater for all so here goes - 'Dem Der Ung Leek Hanratty doods did the biznezz gud now' - how's that?
So in reflection, another day that got my heart and soul and was flung together with pure natural selection being the order of the day, with the usual mix and match style and bringing together a crackin' bunch of noise makers to do their stuff. Tell me I'm wrong but this is the only way things should be done, exposing new sounds for people and giving them an insight into the beautiful aural aromas out there. My shows will slow down somewhat in future as many are prepared to scupper, ignore or just try to belittle what I do but I'll tell you this, I can still piss more punk than any other promoter and do it in a forthright and sincere way that I have never doubted - now that’s self-belief for ya, not arrogance and take it which way you will but you will never break this passionate and spirited bastard who has focus and detests the false shit out there that has, and still is, making punk just a watered down whelp that has fallen from the cunt of commercialism and mirrors everything that is shite in society. But for the good few – I’ll cling on and mean it.Cheers to all who came, those who stood there and enjoyed the rhythmic razzle and Stu and Sam for risking their reputations with the Fungal pig dog. of good thanks to the Star and Garter for holding the event and good luck with their efforts to stay afloat. Keep shovelling the shit, believe in what you do and never let the filth take your pride.
review by Fungalpunk/OMD (18 January 2015)