Well here we are. The last ever Fungalpunk gig at Dog and Partridge in Bolton primarily down to petty in-town politics and a scene that has too many people involved with a reluctance to travel. A terrible shame as this venue is a real jewel on the punk rock circuit and always maximises bands ability to the full. Landlord Neil has been a real star and backed the punk rock venture as best he can and Andy the soundguy has proven himself to be one of the best on the circuit. This combination alone deserved better than what they got but the unreliability of the scene drastically let them down. Don't get me wrong - I feel the bands I have put on have all played bloody marvellously and a few gigs went down a real storm. A few too many however were disgraceful as far as attendance was concerned and to some extent I have to take the rap for that. Tonight was a real worry as it was a Thursday and £3 on the door unlike previous gigs which were on a Saturday night and free.
With trepidation I hit Bolton at 3pm, met up with Tim 'Punk4Life' Davis and had just a few tins to take the edge off. Time flew and we arrived at the gaff at 5.30pm and after a brief chat with the landlord we sat outside and awaited the bands. Girlfixer came, chatted and went in search of digs and then came Kings of the Delmar. Good lads indeed and we all entered the venue after a good old natter and awaited the gear and other bands. A few misunderstandings and many a chat and running about 1 hour late KOTD got the evenings entertainment off to a flyer in front of what was a fairly sizeable crowd.
I have seen this outfit twice before and been mightily impressed but this tonight was the best yet. With only one original member (Wayne with the blonde hair) and two new recruits (Damo on Bass and punk rock prostitute Bri Barnes on drums) this was more closer to the punk spirit than ever before and the energy and abundance of cracking songs was fuckin' brilliant to watch. From the opening track 'East Coast' to the closing 'TV Personality' this was just one long pleasure and all 3 members just seem so at home in one anothers company and seem totally focused on getting out there, playing and having a damn good time. The two front strummers put in the leg work and moved to the rhythm throughout and punk rock maestro Barnesy on drums just seemed utterly at ease with his new found role. There was 100% commitment all round and this was a set to savour. The only complaint for me is that all my gigs are currently booked up and I can't get these guys on again soon. Bastard! They will be back for the fungal one and next time with a better slot and some guaranteed brass. Both will be well deserved and sincere thanks must go to them for opening tonights show in such magnificent style.
Next up Most Likely To Fail - a band whom most of you may realise are one of my personal favourites and an outfit who are made up of some of the best lads on the scene. Supportive and damn good company and with a frontman who can supply any drug of choice at any time this is a great crew to work with. In fact frontman Pauls recent court appearance for burning Jack Russells seemed to have no effects on his spirits whatsoever and tonight he bopped about like a man on whizz (in fact he most likely was on whizz). With oodles of melody and infectious riffage the MLTF machine was in full flow and this was a treat. The new songs sounded awesome and had some real bite and were fitted in nicely before the Bad Religion cover which never fails to please. 'Killing Time' and 'Most Likely To Fail' were tonights honest claimants in a queue of benefit frauds (in joke there) and surely MLTF must go on from here with a new lease of life. Frontman Paul was so into this the physique that won the 'Doncaster Dumpling Festival' was revealed to all with many a fair lady swooning in admiration. What a guy!
Girlfixer cracked on next and are a new band for me and pre-gig information gave me hit and miss reports. This wasn't half bad and the songs were pretty well delivered and all given extra zest by the screaming banshee at the front who did a stirling job. Eye candy for the boys is always a winner but should never detract from all other components who on this occassion worked well. The crowd seemed well happy and I thought it was pretty good too. Overall though another viewing is needed to give a full critical lowdown.
Phobia next and the blistering assault that these guys serve up is nectar to the gluttons of noise and the dual singing real comes across mightily effectively as the two beligerent baldies blast forth a venomous assault of livid lunacy. I like this band but am not so blinkered to realise it is an acquired taste and not to everyone's liking. Tonight though the crowd lapped it up and the lads did themselves proud with a terrifying blast of riotous disorder that rocked the rafters. 'Prime Sinister' is still my favourite and with the asistance of soundguy Andy, the number, (as did the entire set) shone bright. Brutally apocalyptic and with subtle depth Phobia are always worth a peek.
Time was no longer an ally and at 10 minutes to the witching hour Anger In Motion finally got up and blazed their own style of hardcore to a very accepting crowd. What a great bunch of blokes this crew turned out to be as they chatted with all and sundry and supported all bands. They were really enjoying their visit to this country and seemed entirely at home mixing with the British punks and partaking of the english ale. Can't fault em' and chief organiser Steve was everything I expected him to be - a real nice bloke and as unflustered and laid back as they come. The fact I was putting on this Aussie crew rested heavy on my shoulders and a huge responsibility was had. I hope the show tonight was enjoyed by all but most importantly by the band and crew. The songs were rattled off with clean efficiency and all were neatly touched up with some tricky guitar strokes and severe u-turns. Despite following the orthodox hardcore of Phobia this lot held their own and dished out the same stuff with their own unique twist. The punters relished the noise and the 3 covers all went down a storm as well as their own stuff. A nice finale to a great gig - thanks lads.
Quick farewells and off home and well happy with a gig that promised little and gave so much. If AIM come to these shores again then hopefully we can get it together again and on the vibes after tonights escapade a bigger crowd could be expected. Thank you to all who made the effort tonight it is truly appreciated and is what makes putting on a gig worthwhile. I hope Bolton has some punk resurgence and this gaff gets used to its potential because it truly is a great little boozer.
And finally - to anyone who witnessed the baring of Tim 'Punk4Life' Davies' buttocks during the AIM set and has suffered ill mental health as a consequence then I am truly sorry. Episodes of this vulgar nature are not the norm at my gigs and Mr Davies is usually a man of decency and high morals. Well perhaps not so decent and perhaps not so moral but I assure you the two pimpled baps will be no longer available to the passing public as Tim assures me that he has stopped taking the mogodon/absinthe chasers and no longer feels a need to expose any part of his anatomy. The full genital exhibition in Poulton last year was a mere blacking out of the mind and all is now sorted.
review by OMD (19 September 2008)