FUNGALPUNK GIG REVIEWS
Feeling slightly frazzled from an excursion to a Welsh mountain top in pursuit of lepidopteron wonders and other arthropods (as well as a few bloomers) and of almost sound mind (I do get close sometimes) I arrived at the Star and Garter feeling in half decent fettle. The shock of finding Sam and Babs (your friendly STP door lasses) stark naked in the car park indulging in what was deemed to be an onion peeling contest somewhat threw me out of the door of reality and only after several reassuring utterances to myself of 'Come on lad you can do this' did I strip bare and skinned 8 eye-waterers in a row and declared myself a good runner up. Re-dressed, eyes still running chats were duly had to the onion victors whereupon the promoter for the day, Mr Stu Taylor joined the conversation and related a tale about a recent affair he had had with 3 foot tramp. Oooh me noggin'.
A few more faces arrived and after dropping a variety of prescription drugs, scrawling on the toilet walls 'Free speech for gay lettuces' I settled into the gig going groove and looked forward to the first act. Just prior to the openers I was accosted by local deviant Boggleton Bogson of Boggle Hall who insisted I listen to his sordid conquest of a male science teacher and how, in a desperate measure to win love, he had had his member replaced by a Bunsen Burner. I explained that this seemed a bit at extreme and looking at Mr Bogworth's (he uses several names to hold up the criminal proceedings) singed trousers I could see he had a life of hazardous intimacy ahead of him. Unmoved the said Bogotropia (ah another name) blew a raspberry, hopped on one leg singing the George Formby classic 'Keep Fit' and suddenly ran off into the distance only to re-appear 3 hours later stating it wasn't him, it was a doppelganger - worrying indeed.
And so... here's a brief low-down of the day’s dinnage. Let's not dawdle - the sun is out, I have much to do, here my friend is the musical meat of the matter.
First band up - In Evil Hour. The opening song was missed due to a moment of gas-bagging with a gabbing fellow in regards to his local coal round and how he enjoys emptying his sack on a regular basis. Entering the gigging arena In Evil Hour instantly baseball batted the feet from under me with a decent belt of sound built on foundations lain by a band who are working hard, at one with the sound they are trying to create and are very slowly ascending the melodic curve and thus making a statement. The guitars are well riffed with both in accordance with one another and just getting the timing right so as to maximise the impact. Many want this power effect, many fall short - the way to get it is by just doing over and over again - you can see the dividends being paid. Drums are slapped about without something close to disdain and are factor to be looked at more closely by the connoisseur (you more than likely will not be disappointed) and the lass at the fore, may be a dainty delight, but from deep within coughs up a raucous racket that just lifts the whole delivery. She buzzes about with conviction and the players are happy to ride on the created waves - this is getting better and tonight, just perhaps, was the best I'd seen em'. I must chase up some listening fodder real soon and as I write this am making a note 'buy some CD's' - concrete opener for sure.
A beer and another (why not) and a piddle. In the latrines I caught young music enthusiast Graham Norris using a peephole to see into the gent’s main karsi. I asked of the action therein and Graham just replied in sombre tones ‘Nothing mate - just Noz throwing one off the wrist to a Val Doonican album - very disappointing'. I zipped up and left Mr Norris to his self abusing attempts and headed back upstairs for the second heap of acoustica which this time was served up by those lovely rhythmic waiters Born To Destruct. The opening burst was hard work due to people still downstairs waffling on but eventually the punters came in and whilst the excellence of 'Madhouse' was being poured forth a good bunch of eavesdroppers was in attendance. Crackin' tune after crackin' tune came and once more it felt I was witnessing a band, who I am more than familiar with, knock out their best set to date. Last time they played Manc was on one of those very rare local Fungal shows which was quite a few years back and it was good to see them here again and doing the business. 'Ordinary Man' came and kept the flow, 'Rattle The Cage' is a little belter but 'Roadtrip' and 'Punk As Fuck' were the pick and became a brace that took the set to the next level and really started tickling a few of the crowds sonic taste buds. If the crowd would have been a bit more tiddly then they may have become a bit more wiggly as 'Get Ya Wiggle On' prodded and poked and was enjoyed but didn't get the interaction desired (hey keep trying it's a great ditty). With a bounce in the bassism, a unity in the six-stringed swordsmen and a good bip and bop in the sticks department the BTD closure came via 'Destruction Rock 'n' Roll' and rounded off a great little routine thoroughly appreciated by myself and a few other discerning deviants. Talking of which...
Who was that guy selling sexual frogs for £3.00 a pop - very rough that and although Amphibian Olympics is something I have never indulged in I am quite happy to keep on promoting the avoidance of all 4 legged love (Jack Russell’s the exception hey Damien).
2 Sick Monkeys - one of whom is an unhinged psychopath with a passion too horrible to contemplate, the other who is an unhinged psychopath with a passion too horrible to contemplate. What these two get up too when the sun goes down (or perhaps when the 'son' goes down -ooooh how grotesque) is anybodies guess but what they do when let loose on a stage is set in stone and absolute fuckin' quality all the way. The fire built at the start is hot and one can cope with the odd singed sonic lug but as the furied flames are encouraged by the relentless billowing spirit one can't help but feel delightfully overwhelmed by the cacophonic conflagration these two loons exude. Over the years I have seen these guys move through the mire and head along to that target of 1000 gigs, in fine accomplished style. It seems a long while back when they were plucking around on the 2 figure mark and through all sorts of shit they still march on - success indeed. Tonight, covered in dust (it’s a tale to be told) Pete rattled on and gave hint at a new found destruction that made for one exciting viewing. Fred at the back (perhaps one of the most mentally crippled men on the scene - that's my theory anyway - anyone who says so little and hangs around with a madman like Pete must have something amiss) plays a fuckin' good un' as per and remains rigid (maybe in more ways than one) and holds together what could be a potential doomed ship. Singing roles are swapped with Pete doing the bigger and more nastier part and Fred supplying that essential contrast and more restrained edge. The set rattled by and each blast worked big time. One of the best units on the block and I have yet to meet anyone disappointed by the fire. 'Happy Days' and 'Lost My Head' stunk of untamed glory but 'Number One Retard' shone brightest from a bright thing filled with brighter than bright brightness ha, ha. Class A in attitude and delivery - fuck off!
At this point I decided to fill my rear with 4 marbles, 2 potatoes, and a cantaloupe (and why not) just to make things uneasy and piss people off (it's a forte of mine). More hot air was blown back and forth and thus I missed Billyclubs opening belt out. Upon entering though I was immediately grabbed by the attentive genitals and forced to absorb what was, as expected, one high fuelled power fuck. Billyclub know how to rock it and rock it darn hard and this was no different from the usual riff and rock riot. Now, with that musical maestro Brian Barnes on bass the surge was swifter, more cohesive and quite blistering. The bassist who has left will not be forgotten by me though as he was a fine chap and did a fuckin' good job indeed and I am working here from the perspective that Barnesy just brings something different to the fold rather than outstripping his predecessor (think on and respect to good old John boy). So with Barnes pumped and manipulating the 4 wired weapon to his pleasure, string master Karl got to work and was thoroughly absorbed in his own sonic sword and gave out some very exciting moments indeed. Andy on drums is a fuckin' big belter and a drummer not to be overlooked. The stick work is a masterclass as are all areas with the mouth at the fore blazing, hungry, inkling of full on hardcore and most importantly - effective and essential to the Billyclub blitz. Each and every song blasted with energy and although missing the last two due to needing another piss (the beer, oh the beer) I saw more than enough to convince me Billyclub are still hot property. And yes 'I Saw God' is special too - amazing in fact!
And at last...
With temperatures rising...
The beer levels building...
and Mikey Wong still forcing people to look at his multi-bell-ended chopper - 4 bells in fact - a quad prod as he so lovingly tells the lasses
We come to the last band...
The Mardi Gras Bombers I bid thee welcome!
If any band has put in the effort, tried and tested many waters and put forth a sound on their own terms, with disregard for winning favour and playing petty political games, then this is it. The latest CD release (which is essential listening) epitomises everything the band are about and exhibits an awkwardness of sound, a stunning degree of insight/success and a granite level of experimentation that in the main - triumphs. Arriving two songs in (darn those wagging jaws), it was my pleasure to be raped by an exemplary concoction of rock and rolling riffage packed with varied flavours which many more should have been partaking of. This was a five bander not a fuckin' 20 band all dayer - have ye no stamina or no stomach for something that so beautifully strays out of structure, regime and tradition. Ged on guitar is playing his balls off at the mo as is Mark on bass and when this fiery duo hit it off and copulate their cacophonous organs the resulting spill out is a birth to behold. Noise, noise, noise and given extra boot by that scum bum drum maestro (and alcoholic) Travis McTucky. At the helm comes shiner laden Damien Gillett - a marvellous mouth man well versed in the art of theatrics, attention to detail and full on spirited singing. Escorted in part by a black eyed heroine who added that much needed bitch warble this was a shockingly special outing and with many a good song the set polished off an evening of high, high quality. The zenith of the MGB offering was a brace to drool over, these being the masterful 'Resurrection Gang' with its gnawing riff and saturated sonic effect and the stunning bewilderment of 'Girl X' - utter genius. What a great band and provided they don't overdo things, and over-expose (which Travis has been to court for ) then I reckon this lot and tease their way to the top of a very particular twisted tree. I'll support them all the way and wish them the best I can - and, with accent laden with authority, so should you.
5 bands, 5 quid and in truth not as good a showing as it should have been but with sun shining, the fuckin' festival fever distraction around the corner and always plenty going on what can one do? All I can do is my bit and even I can't do everything but I can take time to thank Stu, Babs and Sam for their efforts, to the people what made it down a big thank you and a point of note to make about The Drastics - a band booked to play, who couldn't due to the singer having a bad throat, but who still made the effort over to show their faces and support - now that's a thing called punk. Think about it and reward it you should.
Cheers to all - now do your bit etc. etc. etc. ad infinatum. And Uglypunk – get a fuckin’ website sorted ha, ha!
review by Fungalpunk/OMD (29 May 2012)