FUNGALPUNK GIG REVIEWS
Another gig and for me the first one at The Star and Garter in Manchester this year. Top venue this and I was looking forward to this Ageless Chaps treat very much despite having a tough week with the old kidney stones. A chat with Steve the promoter before the gig and a few opinions passed on to a few faces was very much enjoyed and after removing my tongue from my cheek I headed into the venue to prod and poke a few more nerve endings. A good turn-out seemed to be expected and as many faces came one could almost hear the wood work creaking. Definitely tonight's show was up there on the 'must attend' nostalgia trip but although I was looking forward to the headline act I was, as ever, looking towards the support bands to provide equal entertainment. This is punk apparently not a fuckin' retro social club for fat men caught in a perpetual repetitive loop.
The Dangerous Aces opened and did a fuckin' solid set of songs in a short space of time and with, may I daringly add, a somewhat organised delivery. I have seen this lot many times and have enjoyed the slipshod as well as the unhinged along the way but it is nice to see the inebriate’s incarnate hold it together and play a neat and nifty set filled with good honest tunes. Stand in bassist for the night was top bloke Mike (Ex-Shadowcops) who sacrificed a night of counting pot-holes to help out this worthy crew. The opening song was a new one and came across remarkably well and had me intrigued from the beginning. I did find out the name of this ditty later from frontman Moz who, in between bouts of genital gout, explained how he felt the gig went. This first song along with the admirable 'Endless Bullshit' were my picks but the high was, as stated, the better organisation of the show and the obvious focus. The band are musically at ease with one another and this improves the output no end and so Matt on drums hits with more accuracy, Stu swaggers rather than staggers, Moz can concentrate and snarl and the bassist can apply the adhesive and bond all components together. Good stuff and with a smile on my face I went downstairs for a breather and a bit more chit-chat.
A good natter with professional shoplifter Travis McTucky and ex-French onion Graham Norris and back in to admire the noise and skill of top Wigan lads The Adjusters. I have said it before and I'll say it again and that is 'if any band can make something of the gigging game then these dudes can'. Approachable, rebellious, in keeping with the rock and roll routine and with a plethora of high end sonica this is a band to savour and appreciate. 'Start Me Up', 'Kickin' Down The Doors', 'Drinkin' Red Wine' and the covers of 'Bomber' and New Rose' were excellent despite the mike playing up and a speaker not doing the full business. The band played a blinder with the two picks of the crop for me being 'You Gotta Say' and 'Wrong Time, Wrong Place' both of which make up the bands forthcoming double A sided single. Class stuff and totally infectious as well as being laden with attitude and downright spirit. The bleached blond front gob plays it well and is backed by a strong unit who I'd like to see 'show it up' a little more and add to the overall effect but hey that is a minor niggle and genuine quality din-making. Watch the Adjusting space people!
A natter with Steve 'Digital' Isles about his recent affair with a photography magazine and a conference with Keith 'semi-circles are the best' Willocks regarding the recent accusation about his guinea pig collection and the porn that takes place therein and I headed back into the gaff a little mentally shaken. The Hi-Fi Spitfires hit the stage and expecting much I watched with keen intent. Plenty of good songs here with '37 Hours', 'Write It On The Rooftops', 'Brickwalls And Barricades' and 'Cover Up' the most notable. Well rehearsed and incessant I found this attained a 'not too bad' level but nothing more. This is the first time I have seen this lot and I reckon I need a few more viewings to fully assess but this, although good, didn't explode in any area and didn't create the impact I expected. Maybe an extra guitarist methinks could fuel the Hi-Fi fire, maybe the sound in the gaff didn't work for this particular trio - just one of those to ponder. The CD I have reviewed for the Hi-Fi brigade gave me the same feeling and another point worthy of mention is the fact that the songs weave around a little and don't adopt an obvious regular routine (which is no bad thing). I gotta see these again to scratch an itch as I feel I may be missing something - then again I may be spot on. After the set I discussed my feelings and a few agreed and a few didn't - such is the noise.
And so to the created band everyone came to see or should I say 'the artist everyone came to see'. TV Smith has been around the block since year dot and after many, many years pottering about with critical acclaim in the solo sonic shuttle destined for nowhere this was a different attack harking back to yesteryear and showcasing the songs from the first 2 Adverts albums namely 'Crossing the Red Sea' and 'Cast Of Thousands'. I have never been a fan of the band to be honest although TV's solo stuff is bang on the mark. Articulate, preachy and focused is what I expected filled with a fiery passion to just keep on trying. That's what we got but note has to be made of the backing band (The Valentines) who really gave the front punk a sound to work with and a tight delivery to believe in. The gaff was rammed for this one with faces from places I know not where. TV had dressed for the part (a good thing/a bad thing) and looked straight out of the 70's and although the question was asked is this 'pure punk' I couldn't help thinking 'no'. Yeah that response won't make me flavour of the month but hey I ain't in this to be a part of a social circle or win new friends. That's my thoughts and it just seemed strange to view a nostalgia trip and realise the circle had gone full swing and things were more or less the same. The one winning aspect is people are out there doing it and if you look hard enough you will uncover some genuine passion. Hey ho I digress so back to the set in question. Well thoroughly enjoyable to be honest and ignoring the crowd I observed intently and saw a good level of execution and some high energy throughout which is never a bad thing. Song wise - come on you know the score - 'One Chord Wonders', 'No Time To Be 21', 'Gary Gilmore’s Eyes', 'Bored Teenagers', New Church', 'Great British Mistake', 'On The Roof', 'Cast Of Thousands' and 'Televisions Over' this had all the trimmings the demanders wanted to be supplied with. It did what it said on the tin as they say and I suspect no one went home disappointed. TV gave his signature high kicks, sweated like a swine and enthused the crowd – isn’t that the job of a performer? Make what you will of it but enjoy it first and foremost and please get out there and watch the guy strut his solo stuff too – you know it makes sense.
So awkward Fungal came, saw, found fault, found delight and fucked off home. Hate it, love it, do it or don't - we all see things in different ways and if going with the flow is the way or being part of a washed up pack then count me out. Be proud of who you are, keep the flame roaring, be good and be real. Despite the headline act being very good it ain't the be all and end all tha' knows and looking over your shoulder is all well and good but if ya don't watch out your future is fucked and it's all your own fault.
PS: To the few who bought an Underdogs Morsels CD - cheers and move it on faster and keep the grass trampled under your feet (but don't crush the bugs) OI OI
review by OMD (26 March 2011)