A long day at work, an incredible piss-shit bus ride from Stockport to Manchester and a quick wander through the grey drizzle soaked streets to the gaff for tonight’s entertainment. An ugly place Manchester and in my frame of mind the swifter I could get through the concrete puke the better. Into Moho and a chat with local nice guys Tez and Bartek. It was good to see Bartek out of prison after his recent sausage smuggling misdemeanours and it was equally pleasing to Tez had recovered from a raging attack of the Nipple Gnats. Little pests those and people have actually needed full papillary transplants due to those burrowing demons – very unpleasant I must say.

The crowd looked pretty sparse early on but gradually swelled to quite a size for the first band of the night who apparently had only been together for about six months. The crowd looked as expected, the band sounded as expected and here is the review of a night of sub-generic sonica that makes up a small segment of that ravaged noise arena we know as punk (whatever the fuck that is these days) - see told ya I was disillusioned.

The Tear up came out hard and did things the best hardcore way - swiftly! If you keep up with the Fungal assessments you will know I like the shorter side of hardcore where the explosion is a more effective knuckling rather than a prolonged thudding. To see this embryonic band pile drive away in such an efficient way was quite impressive and the pissed off and speeding approach worked mightily well with the crowd showing good attention. The riffs came in good amounts, the songs flashed by and although brief I thought it was a decent bite size chunk especially for those who are not true H/C connoisseurs (like me). Not much extra to add really and another viewing at this tempo wouldn't go amiss. 

The gaff filled, a few more friendly faces joined the fray and the next band arrived. I am under pressure here and have many things to do so shall not fuck about with tales built on tomfoolery. Saying that I did enjoy the way Mr X balanced that dead man's penis on his shoulder - he claimed he was doing it for therapeutic reasons but I am still convinced the whole deviancy of the act is a way to promote the plight of the Pickled Porcupines of Plymouth and the current conflict with the Cardboard Cretins of Clough - sussed!

XCurraheeX next and a hardcore band obviously settled into their own house of destruction and very forthright in their sound. The tempo here was full of sonic spunk and the songs rolled forth with typical efficiency. Again I need to see more to fully assess but in my hectic schedule this may or may not happen. The band have a few keen followers it seems and showcased themselves well and that is about all I can say at this point. The vocalist, guitars and drums all work a tidy rhythm and the riffage that was dealt did so in undulations of brutality and just downright mean.  I could waffle onwards but no - I'll leave the verdict as open.

So to the headline act, namely Agnostic Front. Many rate this crew highly and even though I am not an ardent fan I have to admit they do have one or two classics in their armoury. A few of the bands songs leave me flat and so I am just a punter who is happy to dip in and out again at my leisure and see what transpires. Dip! The crowd grew and was more than a little healthy and a good pack at the front rose to the first note and went at it full tilt throughout the set and did the band on stage proud. I did mention to someone how the crowds reaction can effect opinion and that how many bands we know that play to lesser amounts of people would do well here and be viewed in a different light - it's all a form of distortion and illusion tha' knows. Removing the pogoing punters from the equation (forgive me) and concentrating on the noise the AF crew produced I thought the set was a good pounding construction that started slowly, blew massive and loud in the middle and tailed off at the end. The first 3 songs seemed to just go through the motions somewhat and were not my favourite choices but after that the racket, force and general energy was set at optimum and all responded accordingly. 'Crucified' and 'Gotta Go' blazed with intent but there were many that added to the conflagration and hearts were burnt harshly and passions stoked blatantly.  I expected an encore and in truth would have welcomed one but alas no!

High point - seeing that 'erbert Terry 'Tez' Roberts get up, sling on a guitar and nail 'Crucified'. Good chap and it looked like a fuckin' blast!

In retrospect this was a powerful performance that gave the dedicated NYHC nuts their fix and sent them home sodden, satisfied and spirited. Me? Well as I say I ain't no fan but can appreciate the din and so can recommend to all who have a preference for this can of acoustic damage. The gig was as foreseen and filled with people who like their scene and are happy to create a look and feel very much of another sub-genre. This is what punk has become, a multitude of circles that turn with very little interaction and so leaving a divided area where some bands thrive and some unduly suffer through nothing more than circumstance created by the culture of human traits.

I fucked off and stood in the rain outside clearing my head and contemplating what I'd witnessed. The departing punters seemed happy enough so who am I to piss on their chips. That punk package that we all bought into seems more like a con everyday and when those middle class wankers who got it rolling wake up perhaps the game of rebellion they played may look pathetic indeed. Harsh I know but punk to me matters and the ethos of what it should be thrives within and the fight goes on to keep out the thing that punk now is!

The hardcore crew have their scene and of it they should be proud. They put their efforts in to support their sounds and are a spirited bunch. At the mo I remain still befuddled and am in a state of flux as to where I wanna go, what I wanna see and how I wanna go about it. I have been hammering this game for so long things seem a little stale and having met so many piss-takers it is hard to relax and trust. Hey these thoughts are rolling out - next week I may deem it all to be hunky dory but somehow...

We shall see!

review by OMD (19 July 2011)