A soaking on the way home from work, nearly dozed off watching tennis and on tablets that are zonking me out - did I need this gig on a Tuesday night? Well sometimes you just gotta push on and with The New Town Kings on as part of a 3 band treat I thought it was worthwhile scraping my arse off the sofa and mooching on down. A Diggle offering again and so a decent crowd should be had (he had sold over 100 tickets in advance) and presumably some choice tuneage too. Arriving in good time, quick search on the door (bah), a chat with Mr Diggle about recent and future gigs and the progress he was making and in for a beer with a crowd looking quite sizeable early on. And so the action commenced!
Above Them I have seen before and quite honestly couldn't remember what they were like. Looking at my last review I reckon I was spot on with my opinion that this is a good unit with loads of energy and riffage but whom, I am afraid to say, are really not my cup of cha. The delivery was tighter than a gnats chuff, the quality and diversity of riffage entertaining and the reception they got from the crowd worthy of their efforts. A few lapped it up and in parts even I found myself intrigued and quite taken but overall this was just 'one of those' that somehow didn't tickle my tuneful todge. The fact is though that this is a good solid band who will satisfy the cravings of the ones in the new-skool, slightly technicalised circle as well as those who like something to just rock out to. Judging them on talent then the verdict would be high, on personal appeal middling and that my good peruser is how it goes. Maybe if they add a few obscure contrasting moments into the mix we would have a set that would shine even brighter and capture the attention of those outside the circle like me - other than that my advice would be to plough on chaps, do your thing and enjoy the journey.
A beer and a chance to watch Dean Diggle ply his customers with the offer of a free 'Sensation'. It sounds sinister and even though the last young chap to take him up on this offer ended up in A&E with a ruptured prostate gland and a singed scrotal sac the 'Sensations' under the spotlight tonight were of the crispy kind (still sounds underhand don't ya think). Several punters nibbled (nasty), some chomped (even nastier) but no-one took Dean up on the offer of sipping his 2% Carling Zest no matter how many times he referred to his promotional script ha, ha!
Next up the band I came to see - The New Town Kings. Pure ska with plenty of uplift, upstroke and Jamaican, rocksteady, 2 tone lusciousness tattooed with accuracy, spirit and unity. The band come as a 9 piece unit and work together with pleasurable adhesiveness and contribute to their end sound in equal, outstanding measure. The brass is applied with zeal and puffing passion, the stringwork totally of the genre and you can't resist that phat, twitch inspiring bass. Drums are cool and kept busy enough and vocal duties are totally on the mark with a front dude in the groove, happy to skank away and lead the audience down a merry path of melodic fun. The crowd indeed responded and a few jigged away the stresses of the day and became absorbed in what transpired to be a fully satisfying set of quality noise. Having reviewed the bands 'M. O. J. O'. album I recognised quite a few tunes and so took extra time to scrutinise the bands delivery and attention to detail - no gripes at all. It is always a satisfying sensation to see a band master their chosen art and keep the sound alive and kicking with nothing more than blatant belief and erudite talent - The New Town Kings are a class act - get em' on your hit list now!
And so to Lightyear - a reunion, a party and perhaps a final farewell. A band from a specific era that was reflected in the crowd in attendance and a crew that mixed up ska, hardcore and poppology and were approaching this final tour (perhaps aptly named Flogging A Dead Horse) with wise words as thus:- 'We know this might raise a few chuckles. It's been 15 years since Lightyear began. We started it to simply to have fun. We stopped it because it became not fun. We wanted to stay friends. But we ended up not even seeing each other really. We want to hang out with each other again. Soooo…... we are doing 5 dates in June. It would be wicked to see old and new friends. (we haven't played our instruments in 6 years, So we might have improved)...'. In truth the set had many highs and a few shoddy lows (but that was to be only expected) but in the main this was about what the band wanted things to be - 'FUN'. With a good hardcore undergound following, a set of sonic spillages to savour and an inkling (well more than just an inkling) of the unpredictable Lightyear had it all set up tonight to succeed and as a result the crowd came with the intention to enjoy and enjoy they fuckin' well did. When nailing it Lightyear do it oh so darn well but when spilling over into discordance the flow is obviously impeded and yet the ones jigging away and taking it all in their stride didn’t mind one jot. Banter aplenty, an invasion by a panto horse to the theme of Black Beauty, a stick battle I almost missed due to taking a leak, a raving about the Portuguese Man-O-War and plenty of high energy this it seemed was what the crowd wanted and I must say...you gotta applaud the way the gig went. For me, no, no, no - just not appealing to my dirty desires of dinnage and despite being an episode in entertainment I just couldn't get in the Lightyear groove. Good on em' though for pleasing their punters and good luck to em' with the rest of the tour - I reckons they'll do OK for themselves without a big pat on the back for Fungal.
And that my music lover is that - fair, opinionated (which is not a bad thing) and trying to see it from both sides of the ramshackle fence. Good turn out, loads of smiling faces afterwards and this punk rock scummer tootled off (after a brief chat and photo with Steve of Flat Back Four and Cotty of A Victory At Sea) knowing that as ever, the individual circuits go on, this little niche seems to be getting younger (I was one of the oldest in attendance tonight which ain't a great feeling - bah) and realising that on I go continuing to dip my toes in varied pools of tuneage and scribble away my thoughts.
Cheers to Dean again, keep it rolling everyone, fuck all prejudice, crush your mental barriers, keep it awkward and rock with respect.
Next gig please!
review by OMD (27 June 2012)