After a quick snog with Boggy (3CR deviant) outside the gaff (I didn't want to but he did pay), and a fondle of Graham Norris' ever expanding globes (he is taking steroids tha' knows) I entered the venue and headed upstairs to await the first band. A chat with promoter Dean Diggle about how much he had made by selling his Jimmy Saville underpants collection and the current climate in the backwoods of Batley (homosexual headquarters of England I hear) and I was accosted by my neighbours Brutal John Bond and Sue 'Hunchback' Pimlott. John related tales of his recent torture victims and the old crippled war veteran he had beat up prior to the gig and Sue moaned about the size of her dorsal hump and the recent problems she had been having with her webbed feet. After their recent prosecutions for shoplifting tit mags I was quite surprised they had turned up tonight but there they were - each sporting a 'Kill Ken Dodd' T-Shirt and trying to sell back issues of Rodox to any lust hungry punters. A strange breed these people. And so...
after a Satsuma and a Banana
to the first band...Criminal Mind.
A young, battling 3-piece who started quite well with a good desire and a good old shake up of the silence. It was formulaic stuff if I am to be harsh but hey - what isn't these days? The Clash-esque sensation that drips like syrup from the stage will be much welcome by many a connoisseur but there are too many on that same old route and it is always refreshing when bands add more of their own clout instead of blatantly relying on obvious influences. Tonight was 50/50 as regards what is mine and thine but in parts I found myself enjoying this, especially early on. The main criticism I found overall was that the band outstayed their welcome and went on for a little too long (hence the dwindling audience) and that must be considered for future shows as two immediate questions are thrown up. Do the band have enough material and do they have enough variety? Variety wise I think the band have got things covered although the more instrumental side of things does need work with definite dividing lines stamped inwards so as to highlight each acoustic essence. The band though have the talent and perhaps my debut viewing has me on the back foot and this assessment is a trifle unfair - who knows - all I can do is write what I feel! Feedback after was mixed so it seems my comments are justified and rather than harp on too much I'll stick with an 'undecided' and await my next viewing - stick at it lads and hopefully blow Fungal away next time - I look forward to it!
Andrew Duffy for some reason tried to sell me a box of frogs between bands and although I am somewhat of an amphibian lover I declined as I was lacking my portable pond tonight so had nowhere to keep them until the event was over. I did buy one of his genital dwelling gecko's though but removing it from my scrotal sack afterwards was mighty painful (thank goodness for Lurpak).
So Xtract next and what opinion would they ‘extract’ from this pernickety fruit?
Well, having seen them a few years back I expected much and that is what I got. The two main ingredients that stand out from the band are the strong vocal style and the feeling that the guy is fighting to restrain his overloaded zest for the job in hand and the cutting, forthright guitar sound that his delivered by the crafty hands of Karl Morris (noise-making noodle of many a fine band over the years). Add to this some cementing drums (that I was guilty of overlooking in the main tut, tut) and a very tidy bass drive that did a little more than people would give credit for (not overlooked). Formed in 1979 Xtract didn't last long first time around and came to a stuttering end before truly maximising their potential (a sad old tale all too frequent in punk). Anyway they are pottering (or is that tottering) about again these days and on this evidence will do OK for themselves. The old scene has a nostalgia streak a mile wide at the mo with more and more bands popping out of the woodwork and chancing their arm. This bold and brazen effort tonight is pure UK82 rocking stuff and has flavours many just can't leave alone. Richie Rocker (of current Bite Back fame) is a really knowledgeable punk rock chap and prior to the set gave his usual enthusiastic dosage in my lugs regarding how highly he rated Xtract and the chasing Outcasts. I best listen up good then! The crowd seemed to love this and so they should as it was a solid set that had some good weight and equally good riffs. Many a song stood out so it would be difficult to pick one (although 'Iron Lady' was nice) and my advice would be to just plug on and throw some new songs in the mix over the coming years (if you stick around that long). Either way - not a bad do at all!
The satsuma and banana I consumed earlier came back to haunt me - up the stairs the skins came each carrying a bag of shopping from Tescos and a pair of glow in the dark alligators. They smiled sinisterly, they caught my eye, my testes retracted with fear, the gut knotted with something akin to perverted arousal. Was this going top be my second sexual encounter with some fruit or would I end up bummed by a Fife and left stinking of Satsuma in the lap of some Godforsaken whore....the pills kicked back out...I tuned back in to something resembling reality...the show went on!
The Outcasts are back and creating minor ripples amongst the old-school brigade. Many expected faces came forth to tick their boxes, appease their niggling nostalgic desires or to just enjoy a good band making a good old racket (with various subtleties and meandering artistry). The front guy (and bassist) has the gift of the emerald gab and knocks out a mean foundation for the others to entwine their fiddlings around. The stick department is all in order and adds a nice chomp to the merry tunes the other creators expel. The two guitars contrast and add their own choice touches - one frenzied and slightly unpredictable (albeit highly melodic) and the other more studious, more retro looking and more exact in his approach (but equally effective and essential to the end deluge that spills our way). As a whole the discordance delivered was mighty fine and these are one of the better bands to get back on the road and play a merry ditty. 'Just Another Teenage Rebel', 'Magnum Force' and 'Mania' were selective moments but there were many more and although, once again, we have nothing tearing up the books of originality, tradition and procedure we have some good sonic stalwarts doing quite OK thank you very much. As is the norm with Mr Diggle's gigs time was running out and the gig was over-running so with a few songs left I departed the gaff on the back of a rubber dwarf whom had graciously offered his services for the measly fee of five warts and an amputated leg.
Sue and John (my neighbours) were given a lift home were we chatted about various confectionaries - a good cake is always a grand way to finish a gig.
Not a bad evening and yet another visit to the S&G - Manc's premier music gaff. I am due back there in a few days - may as well set up camp methinks.
Thank you for reading me old chump and may the pigeons of mental stress not peck thy noggin too hard.
One last note - cheers to the dude outside who chatted about the joys of garage punk - at last a man who appreciates the mucky side of music - keep it rolling mate and here's to meeting up at a Stitches gig soon – YES!
review by Fungalpunk/OMD (26 October 2012)