A new venue to spread the word of the underdog out there and to stop myself, bands and punters from stagnating and staying in confines I can't really abide. Bands need to stretch their wings, gigs need to happen in the most obscure areas and, if after all that, no one gives a fuck, then still success can be claimed. Acceptance by the many has never been an aspect that means you are doing something right - just believe, think, self-criticise and come out with your spirit and passion renewed.
Arriving in good time we decided to have a quick walk in Wombwell Woods were we saw a few butterflies and heard a Grasshopper Warbler calling. Back to the gaff, a bit of hanging around and eventually, bands began to arrive.
Rather than dawdle too much with many insignificances we shall get to the gritty bit of the giggage.
Firstly the reasoning behind today's choices followed by how each band fared - sounds logical!
Reasoning - pop punk is a glorious and gratifying option to hurl into any line-up and when scurfed over with fine character and unassuming punkage it is an essential ingredient to promote.
Execution - due to a last minute switcheroono in the running order Scared opened and lit up the WMC atmosphere with a rewarding set. An immediate 'Whirlwind' came, was lapped up by the early mixed onlookers who appeared sweetly warped, wayward and in part, well worn. Young and old were kept entranced by a three-piece on the upswing and really growing in prominence on this murky underbelly of the sonic beast. 'I'm Alright' and 'Farewell To Arms' altered tonality and tempo as well as creating rhythmic essences that cutely embraced a relevant power factor - comfortable indeed. 'Just A Minute' followed and is a favoured peach that graced this venue with sweet simplistic poppability. It is a style too often overlooked in today’s scene of trendy punks - you know the ones. For me it is all about 'all angle action' and I gorged up this captivating classic whilst chomping equally deep on the juicy joys of 'Toxic Friend' and 'Army Girl' - both extremely consistent charms to catch the aural sonars. 'Eliminator' chased and is another credible leakage to lap up and with the final strokes of the set soon upon us I can honestly say I walked away fully engorged with high acoustic arousal - now that's foreplay!
Reasoning - Having a brace of viewings and being totally enchanted by the DIY thread, the natural off the cuff earthiness and the effective vibrations I was convinced this was a necessary addition to the usual bag of assortments
Execution - this was vibrant, crisp, unaffected beauty that drifted from realms of yore we should not forget. The he/she spits were sober and sincere and parcelled and packaged with sublime talent. A distinct streak of innocent and inevitable DIY strife runs deep and the opening song epitomised every darn good thing about this outfit. The chaser offered stark minimalism amidst rushing produce that creates a captivating battle to distress the senses. The infected she whispers and the cross between the placid and the projected were all bonus touches.
'ATV' was a consummate classical cover ground down and ground out with emboldened deliberateness and grungey accent. The band crawled on, kept donating their own unique brand of rust bucket rhythm that collides and cruises in balanced abundance. The presentation has a 'fuck it and see' finish and immediately I was pondering how many bands do so little with yet so startling effect. Cosmic Slop have me hook, line and sinker and all I suggest is you dabble here and learn to smell raw musical nature and indulge. You can’t always get what you wanted but sometimes you get lucky – I think we all did today!
Wolf Bites Boy
Reasoning - Throwing a grenade of streetpunk into any blend of noise is always handy and when the crew involved are screwed in, tight and dazzlingly efficient it really makes for a damn exciting addition.
Execution - Hard biting, street fighting juggernautism here that kicked off with 'Gotta Getaway' running hard and never looking back. The first crippler doubles up the abdomen with a multitude of midriff blows before dazzling with skank cuteness - it makes for an immediate attention grabbing burst. Next and anthemised unity shouted out for those forced into a corner of reconsideration. 'Don't Let Bastards Grind You Down' is granite clubbing that turns up proceedings another acute notch. Throughout the onrushing set I was struck by the advancing tidiness and utterly agreeable riffage that, with each and every viewing, increases in muscularity and stature.
'Short Trousers, Dirty Knees' begins with paper bag crumpling texture before flattening out into a homespun, street proud homage to hungry 'erberts the length and breadth of this spiritually expiring country. Further inwards to the core of the set and taut string manipulations, hefty chordage and the like are hitched up by slogged tympanics and, as an inner brutality rears its raging head, we get an off kilter attack known as 'I'll Be There For You', a plush contrast to what has transpired thus far. The next 2 songs were missed to a jaw-wagging distraction before I was back in to witness a well-earned encore called 'A Place That I Call Home', a carefully constructed tune built around emotive balance and dusted Oi cobbled pride - a purist’s full stop.
Most Likely To Fail
Reason - Acoustica is always welcome, it gives one necessary equilibrium to the daily discordant diet and if the melodic morsels can be served up by decent folk with an ear for a toon then I am happy to include the vibes.
Execution - 2 strummers whom I have done more than a little with over the years and whom today broke the racket up with a sense-soothing session of 12 string copulation. The first recognisable high was 'Vicious Circle', a ditty that uncoiled itself around a backbone of sanguinity and one that was given a bejewelled smattering of delicate dazzles to up the ante somewhat. 'One For The Kids' chased and black-lined the bands artistry and advanced ringcraft that makes this, and other songs, sincere melodic marvels to adore. Sometimes I feel many of these numbers soar over an abundance of addled heads due to the mis-tuned mental capacities out there who seem to be caught up in the barbs of nostalgic fashionable absorption. This cultured erudite offerings are potential tragic gems that will slip through the pockets of the scene and be lost forever - be careful, hitch up yer kecks!
On the quality came with 'Waiting', 'Killing Time' and 'Reach For The Sky' all vying for complete attention and with 'Most Likely To Fail' a touching masterpiece that soberly assesses the state of play and accepts that chance and luck are major players in a scene dominated by the fickle. The performance today was gradually rising up there with one of the best unplugged outings I have witnessed over 40+ years of tootling and this pathos soaked latter gift certainly deserves more mass observance and applause. The closing cover was unreal and bounced along with inescapable catchiness with the whole exactness and wire manipulation not lost on anyone in attendance. Smell it, breathe it - MLTF have something special and I continue to stick by them.
Meet The Robots
Reason - I like new vibes, I like to keep the ball moving...forward. So, when The Stopouts couldn't play and frontman Tom suggested this lot I did the usual 'why not' - nothing ventured, nothing gained.
Execution - Especial note was taken by this ever ravenous pig dog of this new band to grace my lugs with a sound that once more tilted the angle of the day. I was instantly struck by a slick crew that oozed a firm pedigree and all consuming fluidity that saw a sweet shit fling into the mugs of those accursed with nostalgic obsession and big name bullshit. The hollered, harmonised and controlled were tickled with numerous slopes and US/UK angularity all brought cheers aplenty and with a technical push that was non-too pompous or idiotically flamboyant I was finding my shroomed self nodding along in concurrence with the cacophony. Amidst the more carefully attended to moments came cutlets of sub-savagery that kept one uncertain as to the full direction of the sound. From out of nowhere the band threw in an Oasis cover and nailed it, despite me fully believing that Oasis are a band who had one or two highs but in the main captured most of the critical acclaim due to it being an era when the brain-dead idlers dictated, the musical scene was in safe mode and disappearing down the shitter and competition was severely lacking. I found the whole affair tediously benign and only one or two songs raised any follicle of interest on my part. 'Some Might Say' was a good song though and Meet The Robots spruced it up tonight and gave it a quite gratifying kicking. Another cover came (be careful chaps) this time one borne from The Beatles, a band who knew a tune or two (or three) for sure! 'I Feel Fine' was injected with 'oomph' but still had the sugary sweetness and aural good looks - nice one. The set rolled on, a quiet conviction was gained and I hope we can replicate this somewhere else in the near future. To add, is my brain utterly addled or were some bits sounding a bit like SLF? Just a thought but who the fuck are SLF anyway!
Reason - Due to an overactive reviewing stance I am always uncovering CD's of stunning sonica. Nine Bullets impressed me on the silver circle so I just had to get em' a slot and see if they could showcase the excellence I was hooked by.
Execution - Deep ominous tones, laden with potential threat stomping out an intro that soon thunder cracked and blossomed into a well trilled, well tuned triumph that exhibited what the band are about. 'Alright Pig' reinforced all thoughts of a supremely high functioning unit with heavy duty sonic armoury that was overcoated with a dual shine she gloss that contained many barbed, anxious and strangely seductive facets. Thought was provoked, any potential criticism was coagulated and cut out from the body of the onlooker and replaced with pure positive reactors. 'Teenage Suicide' brought forth a zenith as regards the synchronicity of the wailing banshees and we helpless victims were crashed against many jagged rocks and rolls. What a fuckin' number oozing harmonised excellence and well rehearsed accentuation that helped this, and all spillages, to gain a higher foothold on to the rickety ladder of successful rhythm.
I expected further pinnacles to be found, enter 'Parliament', a living and breathing Behemoth that sniped sharply, pounded muscularly and blew proceedings to marvellous smithereens. 'Nine Bullets' was an upper-cutting beauty that gushed sing-a-long infectious accuracy whilst 'Corridors' is a classic to resist the strong arm of the sober and self righteous with a fuckin' gargantuan effect that takes you into spiked Utopia. 'Looking For You' closed, annihilated resistance and was once more built on fire wanked bassism, hot fizz guitar and clobber, clatter skin rage. The tonal treats at the fore were icing on the cake and this whole mesmeric set for me was one that is imprinted into the memory banks, never to be forgotten. Nine Bullets are, as I suspected, fuckin' bang on the mark.
Reason - A chance to give a bunch of cultural cacophoneers the opportunity to yet again play their post progressive punkage that is ornamented with certain pertinacity and acquired delicacy. The fact that the band have convinced me on several showcases is just a gratifying trifle.
Execution - This lot vomit on the table of the neglectful a reeking multi-faceted, multi-coloured slop of cool, erudite counter-punching punk (term loosely used as pigeonholing this lot would be idiotic in the extreme). Tonight the neat package they consistently cough up was tight, pre-pondered and articulately aware. I am, as suggested, taken by this crew due to the aforementioned points and the downright determination to avoid gobby and vulgar procedures instead relying on their own desires and talents. This style is lacking in the scene and I for one am happy to back these boys and bring forth the quality to the criminal ignorant. The precision was there to behold, a flamboyant progressive touch flaunted with grace and the ensuing interest that was cultivated was our pleasure alone. 'Tough Shit' is a modern day gutter classic, which I state is not an urban myth but an urban reality you bastards! For anyone making that extra effort there is many a tone here to enjoy for all eternity and life-blood such as this needs notice. 'Dumbest Blonde' was another zenith, a razored cut-up that carved and cruised with dynamic effect whilst all chasing ditties cemented yet another established set of treats. Love it I do, fuckin' love it!
Hung Like Hanratty
Reason - Sometimes after a long day people need to switch off and just fuckin' enjoy themselves be it with a good old fashioned wank, a finger up the arse or, more sexually, indulging in some Hung Like Hanratty deviancy.
Execution - top notch noodleism nailed and posted up your rear end with a cheeky grin, a bit of malice and whole wallop of tongue in ring crudeness. The attitude of the band is never questioned by me, the deliberately controversial themes thoroughly welcome in this way too precious and flimsily PC pit and the general jollity is just what the quack ordered in many murky mires. Songs against litter-louting selfish gyppos, spiritual kid molesters, fat benefit frauding pigs, bent policemen, dubious transvestites, wife murderers, picking up your dog turds, z-class celebrities, noisy dogs, monstrous women and Christmas all kind of state where this crew are at and for me if you are faint of heart, take the world too seriously or are afraid of having your beliefs questioned then stay well clear - I guess you ain't wanted at all. The band combine crack cretinism, cacophonic delights and pure sing-a-long treasures into one, encapsulating brew of fun-time pink and long may they live, prosper and piss in the face of the many. Some bands are like a breath of fresh air coming in through a newly opened door, this lot are a rank fart blown through your letterbox like it or not - I for one have my snifter raised and am happy to inhale the madness. A spot on and much needed full stop to the day.
So a big gaff with a proper impressive stage and all bands, who have done their share of toilet fiascos, proved to have the ability to rise up and nail their noise. After this gig my spirits were high due to being proved oh so right about what I believe in. There are many out there who are in it for themselves, who talk a lot but when push comes to shove don’t have any underdog passion, are too weighted towards names and kudos and are not really worth my time of day. Today, although not meeting the needs of the masses, we brought together like-minded outsiders and proved that there is the best talent out there that there has ever been.
Thanks to the gaffer and his staff for the use of a belting venue, to Dave Shaw (best sound guy around) and his consistently bang on efforts, to the people and bands who made the effort and contributed to a small success and to Andrew Rossi, my partner in crime and one of the very best. Finally to my good lady Gillian who supports me and my lost cause, sees the angst, frustration, inner turmoil and still stands by me – that is pure punk in my eyes and she has things far more sussed than any of us may imagine. Cheers lass, love is there forever.
So there you have it, the long haul to nowhere continues with ethics intact and beliefs as sturdy as ever. I am under no illusions my honesty, straight talking and refusal to be part of an idiot pack has cost me but I am who I am and I mean what I do 100%. This was a treasure trove of tuned excellence –if you couldn’t support or wouldn’t support for various reasons then so be it, the path chosen has never been for the sake of popularity!
review by Fungalpunk/OMD (29th June 2015)