FUNGALPUNK GIG REVIEWS
A swift review because I am snowed under, need to crack on and am distracted by the family, the natural world, art, photography and many a Fungal torment in the head. I love it all but the torment I can do without - such are the hazards of thought!
A day at work catching up and looking at the rain make light work of any hope of wandering in the fields - bastard! Home, a few reviews, a tidy and then out to the gig with neighbours John and Sue brought along for the ride. The gaff was full of faces I expected (such is the predictability of the varied gigs I go to) and I awaited the first band on sobered legs (literally). Diggle the promoter said 8pm start so I expected something around 8.45pm for the noise to begin - I wasn't far wrong (darn that dudes pesky time-keeping).
Swinelord first and as one expected - a dirty cacophony of noise that was tortured, bleak, bursting with sub-generic belief and of a very unprocessed style. Nothing wrong with that and for an opening band, for a gig of this ilk - they did their bit. This musical mush I like to nibble at when I choose and it does go down surprisingly well when I am in the mood. Strings were cohesive and hurt, drums patient and holding fort (with more to come I feel) and vocals harsh, blazing and of the necessary kind. The crowd reacted accordingly and with many big riffs, painful pleasures and to the point episodes of brutality the band got by and met the onlookers needs. A short set and so it should be - the best things are kept terse, without frill and to the point. Not bad at all and with a few contrasts of pace and style thrown in I can see where the true potential of this band doth lay. Not a crew I'd see all the time but one to, as I say, nibble at.
Hated Til Proven were the main focus of my attention tonight as they had eluded me on numerous occasions and vibes coming toward the Fungal radar were of a good standard. The band are a mix of roguish looking 'erberts and really do impose a sensation that this will be a hotch potch of sound. I like that and the fact that you can't second guess the colour of the sonic puke that will be propelled forth is a good aspect any band should consider before setting out on the rhythmic warpath. Tonight what eventually transpired was a mix of loud surging melodies, a sauté of streetpunk, a lashing of hard edge and some sprinklings of mucky ducky skank that was delivered with a political anti-fascist, anti war stance slotting in to the obvious structure of the nights proceedings. The interaction with the crowd was excellent with many an 'erbert going at it and fully enjoying the intimate experience. The main positives I drew from the nights set was that the band are a tight unit with some good musicianship going on as well as having a knowledge of various sub-genres that can be called upon when required. The skanky parts won't be everyone's cup of tea and rather than a clean and crisp delivery the band kept it soiled so the contrast between the heavy and the light wasn't as clear and imposing had it could have been. It’s the bands choice but it could be something worth thinking over. Overall though the set impressed with plenty of boisterousness, bollocks and a smattering of fun - let's see how things progress shall we?
Finally Discharge! Seen it, done it and heard it all before and so had many of the punters in attendance I expect. The fact is the band pulled a few in tonight so interest was high and having not seen them for a good few years (about 6 I reckon) I wondered what the band were up to these days. I expected more of the same and that is what I got. The question though is - would people enjoy the band as much if they weren't Discharge - without the name, the history, the prestige but with the same players and barrage of songs? You know the score and I know where the mentality is at and thus know the answer which, in truth, saddens me and puts a blight on my outlook of the scene. Hey ho - such is Fungal - no wonder I am unpopular - saying things that shouldn't be said and being honest isn't the way but...it is for me! I need to know, admit to the truth and face the disappointment - fuck it!
So to the band (irrespective of name) what I saw tonight was a lesson in hardcore that has been tried, tested, decried and bested. Back in the late 70's early 80's Discharge broke new ground and set up a platform for many to work upon and I remember back in the day picking up those Clay releases and getting home and lapping up the bold, aggressive dissatisfaction and feeling thoroughly convinced of the output. Now we are over 30 years down the line and many have come and moved things on to another level but get less attention - such is the force of nostalgia and I hate it. Tonight it was as per with strings sublimely skilful and attentive to their art and being most pleasing and thus getting the job done as tidily as possible. Drums were OK I suppose but my notice was at the fore (apologies for that) with Rat in his unenviable role and trying his best to keep the believability in the output. First three tracks were poor for me with little momentum but...and a bold but...the band got through and went one to have a few highs that, if removing the name, were very enjoyable, but if re-adding the burden, didn't meet expectation. Many in the crowd it seemed really didn't care about the output - it was Discharge ergo it must be good. Madness. What I suggest though is to watch each individual, make a judgement, combine the lot and stand back - are they better than many underdog bands, do they deserve more attention? Anyway back to the gob at the fore and despite not being the original singer I like his attitude, his smiling countenance and attitude with the punters - it works if taken for what it is. A different beast now - understand!
The songs well - as you want and of the noisy brutal machine-like way you like em' delivered. 'Decontrol' was a high and the guy who jumped up and got involved was an utter joy and for me it was nice to see so many get off on the racket, be welcome to do it and have a good night of noisy unity. I apologise for the queries but it has gotta be done out of respect for the musicians and the punk ethos. We will never progress without pondering! Discharge do what they do – and as I always say – so they should!
That's me done - good luck to all bands tonight on whatever path they take, cheers to Dean for his kindness and willingness to keep putting on the shows (special thanks from his wallet also) and cheers to the younger side of the crowd who are enjoying the racket and straying away from the ever-present soul sucking vampire called the system.
That's me done, I hope I leave you asking things of yourself and the raison d'être of the scene. I don't have to or need to write these reviews - so think on. There ain't no profit in tapping away, no underhand plan behind the words - it's all up-front and done to feed progression and if you don't like it then apologies I have none. Ooops there goes that popularity rating again!
review by OMD (23 June 2012)