FUNGALPUNK GIG REVIEWS
Mother Cluck of the Musical World lays many eggs - that is a fact. These eggs are strategically positioned in places were hopefully, some keen noise laden enthusiast will take up the role of carefully tending the oval container of potential acoustic magic and then hatch the idea and tend for a chicklet of cacophony that can be quite unpredictable but nonetheless rewarding. I have seen many eggs laid over (or should that be 'ova') time and seen many ideas and resultant young cluckers strut with confidence and bring much melodic joy. Alas I have also seen far more eggs neglected and the potential inside allowed to go rancid and never arise. Even more disappointing is to see the egg hatched and to see the young clucker left to rot and become a farce and cluck off into the hatchery of time without any register on the rhythmic radar - appalling. Anyway, on a more positive note, another egg has been dropped, left in some capable mitts who have duly cracked it open and released what promises to be a feisty beast of din that will peck at your resistance and win your praise. The banner under which this serialised adventure will wander is 'Men Behaving Badly Promotions' and on the opening night I dragged my weary, but enthused carcass down to offer humble support.
I shook off the shitty rain, entered the gaff (a new one for me) know as Ducie Bridge, an easily found location with ample parking nearby (nice) and ordered a couple of beers to quench the old thirst. Upstairs and into the sound room, £4 paid for 4 bands and a sit down to await the first act of the night - I had heard the original artist couldn't make it so who would it be to get this series of events underway? Step up Matt Woods - the living noodle, the escapee from Broadmoor, the man with a plan and oh yes, a fuckin' Banjo. This was typical warm-up act material delivered from a man that really must be applauded - I mean, how many mentally ill people are so confident to get up on stage and put something into society that could easily cause more patients for the local head clinic - admirable stuff. You see Mr Woods isn't just cracked, no, the whole mental framework has collapsed and what we are left with is musical miasma that leaves us thinking 'did that really happen', 'did this young victim of cerebral corruption really get away with that'? The set tonight was as expected with the gurning goon plucking himself off rather indecently and playing the crowd to a tee. Unrehearsed, ad-libbed, loaded with awful darn covers and in parts crowd indulging I found this gloriously idiotic and a simple episode of time passing masturbation - why not? I have no verdict, I have no praise or criticism - all I can say is Mr Woods 'wank on sir, wank on'.
A slurp a chat with the wonderfully friendly and highly charming Stopouts crew and then it was the turn of, oh how coincidental, The Stopouts. The set tonight had been anticipated highly as I have seen this lot quite a few times and they have graced many a Fungalised stage with their articulate skanky reggae flavours. One of the main persuading factors that got me to the gaff tonight was to support this excellent bunch and I am darn glad I made the effort - absolutely superb. A few slack moments were travelled through and brushed aside as the bands greatest asset took command - naturalness. There is no contrived bullshit here, no dressing up to create a spectacle, no underhand messages to persuade the crowd. No, what you see is what you get, a quality bunch of people knocking out purely thrilling music with much spirit, much unassuming joy and with ever-increasing artistry. The blend of the essences, the varied tempos, the combination of all things relaxed and all things sonically emotive all pour forth and make for one splendid uplifting din. I plough through my share of music, have seen many bands over 30+ years and yet I still believe The Stopouts to be one of those that I really feel in tune with and always feel revitalised by. Of course the attitude helps, the fact that they lack embarrassing desperation and do things at their own pace (frustrating for a fan like me but somehow comforting that not all are chasing a sell-out dream). Tonight I loved it and if I had to give you one high moment I would say the bit between the start and the finish was the best, you know the bit they called the entire set. Thank you indeed for the noise and equal thanks for the nice chats before and afterwards - very decent people indeed - bloody marvellous in fact and worth the door fee (and more) alone. I stand (or stay sat down) convinced!
The Vexed next and I somehow knew what to expect here and immediately got proven right (well almost). Screamcore mania with the band pelting out song after song with no time to consider a less violent approach, a more placated stance. This was high fuelled noise making output that is of a certain ilk, that some get, some don't, some love and some absolutely abhor. The crowd seemed to be made up of the above mix with some making the effort to feign interest and just not getting it but with some lapping it up and letting their bones vibrate to the power. Personally I like a whole array of sounds and found this a solid alteration to what had so far been and a way to keep the more eclectic noggins absorbed. I did find one or two songs white light blinding but in all honesty I found a couple too basic and repetitive for their own good but, this was an initial viewing for me and so, as is always the case with debut dabblings, a full foot stamping verdict is best refrained from. I suspect this is a mood band, one of many that if in the right frame of mind you can get your privates absolutely steamrollered by but if in the wrong mental state can really get niggled by - tonight I was in a grey zone, it happens and so the end decision is just as nebulous - OK.
And after a small delay the headline crew Epic Problem. A very good band indeed to be fair whom I hadn't seen for quite awhile and a unit who really have progressed and made great strides in their delivery. The key element is the relaxation in the output and at no time before have I seen the band so much in their zone and working as tightly as this. Don't get me wrong, last time I saw them they were highly efficient and power pumped with aplomb but this, despite the sound system not giving them the best start (which was strange because it had been spot on all night - shit happens), was high voltage surging that created a certain incandescent quality many failed to pick up on due to flinging paper plates, fiddling with food items and tape and basically having fun (good on em' but a shame they weren't fully zoning in). Having spoke to the string man Mackie beforehand (what a lovely chap he is) I soon picked up the appetite was as strong as ever and it seems the bands are holding their own wherever they go - and so they should. The thick, intense treacle of sound they bombard your noggin with is marvellously effective and you would do fairly well to pick any major flaw in the dinned up design. Each and every song was scorched and I was taking it all in when, a quick check of the phone revealed that it was 11pm, my lift was waiting and the last quarter of the set would have to be missed. You see if I get home after 12 my privates turn into a fungus - my name isn't a game, it has more than a few elements of truth. Having your naughty bits to to a mycological marvel may be a bonus at times, especially if I get a 12 inch Stinkhorn (Phallus impudicus) but, more often then not, I end up with Crampballs (Daldinia concentrica) or a severe case of Trembling Rot (Phlebia tremellosa) - not worth the risk tha' knows.
So off I tootled, into the rain, quite happy with the nights offering at this decent gaff and hoping that this new chirping gift will get well plucked, well fucked and given the chance to lay something of its own - it all helps the cause for the overlooked.
review by Fungalpunk/OMD (22 Nov 14)