This was the last date of Tribe of Dan's 25 yrs reunion (4 gigs 2 in Holland, 2 in UK). I am usually sceptical about reunion tours. Usually I see it as some big band making a bit more money. Like The Sex Pistols in the mid 90's in Finsbury Park (a gig I actually went to perversely wanting them to be crap but the bastards were awesome). However I knew this one was going to be different. Tribe of Dan were never a big band (although they had a small dedicated following) and never made any dosh the first time round. Still, I had seen bands do reunions who seemed to be without passion and going through the motions. Would Tribe Of Dan be any different? I knew they used to have passion by the bucket loads but in the words of Elton John “used to be's don't count any more”. The other thing is TOD used to be a major part of my life many years ago so could I write an objective review? Well it is not my role in life to make people happy, if I wanted to do that I would be a juggler. So here is a review I see as honest. However it is not just about Tribe Of Dan there were two other bands. So here goes:-
Black Block were first on and I had never seen these guys. I always like to check out bands I have never seen. So, a punk rock band who play modern unpretentious punk rock. Solid, tight and definite. They have a passion and a message which doesn't need to be dressed up or screamed. Think the skill and slickness of Lagwagon meets the edge of Leatherface and you are looking in the right direction. Bloody good punk tuneage which is measured not desperate. They hold the audience well and rock out as a single unit without loosing the personality and presence of each member. Some fine yet subtle riffage which connects with the rhythm section whilst the vocals hold your attention without shouting in your face. Sometimes seeing a band for the first time is like going to a Shakespeare play, it takes a few minutes before you totally grasp the language but once hooked the experience is grand. Nice set indeed and a couple of ska/reggae numbers to keep you captivated.
Next up, a band I hadn't seen for over 25 years, Strange Behaviour treat us to an energetic, stripped down, punk influenced, grunge rock and roll set. A three piece who rock out without the annoying guitar wanking a lot of bands in this vein have. ‘House that Jack Built’ is their opening number which they grab you with, then they keep you until they have finished with you at the end of their set, with a stomper of a number ‘Temptation’. The band are enjoying their thing and therefore have those in attendance in the palm of their sweaty hand. Exuberance aplenty, catchy tunes aplenty and sing-a long bits to let you know you are a part of this. At one point the main vocalist says “we have grown out not up”. Thank goodness they haven’t. Long may their merry, joy filled hearts stay young, twanging and pounding.
So Strange Behaviour having poured their heart and guts out in a place which can only be described as an oven they have fifteen minutes to get themselves together and join a cowboy hatted Dan Donovan on stage as his tribe.
Armed with two guitars, bass, drums and a handful of old songs TOD take the stage to a mass of applause and break into a grebo rock set of yesteryear. I am not sure if their intention was to do a 25 years reunion or rip the Fens a new arse hole because the latter is what they surely did. This was definitely not going through the motions. Streams of passion pissed out all over the venue and the crowd soaked it up. TOD might have already been onto a winner with many wearing old TOD shirts (some going back as far as the 80's) but the band didn't rest on their laurels. They gave their all and then some. With Dan Donovan stomping and a howling like a beast that has just been let out the garage. From the garage intensity of ‘Blind Lead The Blind’ to the slow and quiet reflective, sensitive surrealism of ‘Be My Friend’ from the swampiness of ‘Happy Hole’ to intensely passionate sadness of ‘Missing You’ from the abstract craziness revolving round ‘Snakes Alive’ to the stomping personal journey of ‘Shook Up Shook Up’ everyone was a classic beaten forth from four guys who still fucking feel it and mean it. No half measures, no luke warmness, just 110% we fucking love doing this. Times might have moved on, new musical directions sought, friends drifted apart, but tonight the multi-textured, complex Leviathan roars in the capital of the fens and all else is silent. The End.
review by OMD (16 March 2008)