FUNGALPUNK GIG REVIEWS
A final line-up which is very different from the original flyer but hey, this is punk rock isn’t it? Possibly not, no hero worship here today, from a scene which fucking ate itself, just top notch punk attitude acts helping save the lives of street children via Casa Alianza. First band Gash Kick off at 2.30.
Gash, new band who have only done a handful of gigs but are developing very nicely indeed. This three piece certainly know their stuff. Throughout their set you can hear elements of The Mob, Social Distortion, Joy Division and UK Subs plus loads more diverse elements honed down to create the Gash sound. The band are tight for a new band and know how to play together which gives them the confidence to be relaxed, enjoy themselves and have fun banter between songs. At times the vocalist is reminiscent of Mike Ness, at others Charlie Harper, but in a crafted understated way. Lyrics about good old anarcho politics in songs like ‘Left For Dead’ and ‘Drowning In Shame’ and being pissed off with a woman in ‘That Girl’. They finish their set with a song called ‘F.O’. We best had.
The next act should be Peter 118 but I receive a phone call toward the end of Gash's set to say that he is stuck in motorway traffic so we hang around until someone arrives who we can put on.
Sick Note Tezz, he of thee old band Adolescence UK, he's here with his acoustic guitar and his injured lady ( poor lass fell off a ladder the day before and is still in a lot of pain) good of em’ to still come and support, well this is punk rock. Acoustic punk with political lyrics (‘Come The Day’ and ‘Marching Along’) and a sense of humour. Songs about needing a revolution, Thatcher still being a bitch albeit a dead bitch and those engaged in blood sports being scum. Good lad. Crafted folky punky songs with a slight smidgen of country and western in one of them. A good use of repetition which engages the small audience. Nice one fella and Peter 118 has just arrived.
Peter 118, he of Senseless fame. Nice set of catchy acoustic punk with plenty of riffs and edges. The chap likes Rancid (nothing wrong with Rancid) and Green Day and it shows but he is entertaining enough and with a couple of covers thrown in ‘Steppin Stone’ and ‘Jailhouse Rock’ he gives a spot on performance. Songs about victories and meeting Jesus in a pub, that kinda thing.
Its three in a row with these acoustic chappies, with two of them stepping in at the last minute, here’s the third:-
Spud Leeman, one acoustic guitar, some anarcho punk rock politics and a couple of songs about horticultural activities. Spud is liked and received. Even a song about an ex-teacher. Be proud Mr Hoskins. With song titles, ‘Were Not The Government’, ‘Chocolate Bar’ and ‘High Grade’, you will know where he’s coming from. Another set of quality acoustic tuneage with buckets of punkiness, sweet.
After our acoustic interlude we return to some electric punk noise in the form of Sods Law:-
Sods Law - They bring us no thrills, filthy anarcho punk rock and we love it. Chunky guitar, horrible vocals, lots of energy and venom. Punk as fuck. There’s lots of things need to be said in the UK at the moment and Sods Law are saying em. ‘T.S.G’ is about riot copper bastards, ‘Scam’ is about bankers and ‘Pay Day Holocaust’ blowing your months pay on a nights piss up. I love this approach and they trash their set beautifully. They are tighter since I last saw them six months ago but still with the fuck you attitude. Also the drummer has had his 11th birthday in that time. Go on my son.
Hostages For Smack were up next and I despite playing them on the Punk 4 The Homeless Radio Show a few times I didn't know what to expect. Nothing could have led me to expect what was to come anyway. They were brilliant. Why wasn't the venue packed just to see these guys? Probably stuck at home on their retro fucking arses watching Chron Gen videos I reckon. Anyway, their loss, intelligent, edgy, mixed (punk) genres, spikey and mightily angular. ‘Hymns From A Broken Society’ indeed, they bloody broke it, smashed it to pieces with hooks and attitude. No stopping this band. I see many bands, few this good. They chuck in a new song which they play better than most bands play their old songs. A grand sense of humour shouts from the stage which makes their show as fun as it is riveting. Hardcore, hardcore punk, punk, blah, blah, blah, just 3 punkers making top notch music with an edgy attitude - go and see em.
The Lone Groover - this guy is awesome, he first played a Punk 4 The Homeless shoe about three years ago and he is welcome back any time. Joe Strummer inspired acoustic stuff with some great hooks and crafted lyrics which even a punk poet would be proud of. ‘Bastard Sons Of Margaret Thatcher’ and ‘Rebel Without A Metaphor’ ask multi layered questions one has to think about. It’s not all acoustic raging in a Frank Turner kind of way, some of it is sweet and soothing, almost supernal, taking us to a punk rock heaven. Three nice covers, The Stranglers, ‘Get A Grip On Yourself’,’ Sound of the Suburbs’ (The Members) and for the second time today The Clash's ‘Career Opportunities’ (nicely covered earlier by Sick Note Tezz). The Lone Groovers own stuff is strong enough to stand up next to the covers which he does exceedingly well. He finishes by turning his guitar into a machine gun during the last number and gunning us all down. Cheers mate. This guy even travelled from London by train (as did The Outbursts) to do the gig when their lift fell through - total respect.
The Outbursts. I love The Outbursts, Fun as Fuck and totally irreverent. Think Ian Dury, Toy Dolls, Alberto y Lost Trios Paranoias and you will not be far wrong. Elderly punk veterans who should know better but don't. ‘Filthy Nina’ is about the front guys ex-wife being filth and ‘Dig Em Up and Fuck Em’ is about having sex with your school boy crushes. I too had the hots for Diana Dors as a youngster. A song about a Jimmy Saville being dead was also performed. Thankfully he was not interfered with. Musically they perform a very tight set of late 70's sounding punk rock sounding rather like something you might find on a Roxy compilation. Although there’s quite possibly a few nuggets in there too. So overall a splendid set sires or an unwholesome set of the punky stuff I love. Is there a difference?
And now to another last minute solo artist:-
Bruce Tality, I don't really need to tell anyone that he was brilliant do I? One man, 3 instruments. A one man blues, punk attack on apathy. Done with a smile on his face. The audience know he loves what he does and means what he says. Firstly the guitar with classics like ‘Your A Punk’ and yes you should be proud. ‘Disband Of Brothers’ ( about his old band splitting and him going solo, I for one am glad they did because I couldn’t imagine life these days with no Bruce Tality) and ‘This Machine Kills Facists’ inspired by the old Woody Guthrie slogan. One great thing about Bruce is that he has no problem crossing over from musical genres. His love for protest folk and blues is evidenced as much as his love for punk. His love for Joe Strummer and The Clash also permeates his set. Bruce moves from guitar to ukulele with ease and ‘Armchair Anarchist’ is a real classic which contains similar sentiments to Septic Psychos song of the same name. Both great tunes about not walking it as you talk it. A couple of songs on the Uke and then to the mouth organ. His version of The Clash's worst ever song turns it turned into a class piece. Then he has the class to finish with a Howling Wolf cover. Untouchable.
Next up another last minute stand in for the host of bands who have cancelled. First Wave. A cool looking Clash inspired three piece strutting their stuff and delivering a fine set of early punk inspired punk rock. Three guys grew up on a healthy diet of 999, UK Subs, the Damned and The Clash. Social Distortion crept in and gave First Wave that extra polish and what we have here is a solid, tight band who play interesting, intelligent punk rock with a punk rock ‘n’ roll feel. With song titles which include ‘East Block Dancing’, ‘Rock ‘n’ Roll Valhalla’ and ‘Fall Of Singapore’ you can tell they have put some thought into what they are doing and have a Clash-esque politic. So a nice set with a trio of covers chucked in ‘Janie Jones’ , ‘Homicide’ and Social Distortions ‘Machine Gun Blues’ all done with the expertise they deserve. I for one thoroughly enjoyed First Wave and it doesn’t look like I was alone in this.
Spitune came next. Describing themselves as anarcho, industrial ,dub punk. With song titles which included ‘Atos Death Squad, ‘Faceless Killers’ and ‘The Badgers And The Disabled’ you can tell that this was not easy listening. The audience response varied from ‘awesome’ to ‘your music gets weirder’. Some were perplexed, some walked, some enjoyed. Loads of clanking, synth and rolling about on the floor screaming. Crass meets Erasure? The Mad Professor meets Throbbing Gristle? Who knows ? Who cares? Is this punk? Who cares? They even do a bizarre Crass cover - bloody hypocrites.
So the penultimate band, Obnoxious UK, full on punk and roll meets horror punk. There is a Clash feel to the band which fits nicely alongside their Misfits sensibilities. ‘Cadava Doll’, (second song of the day about necrophilia), ‘Dez The Cottage Strangler’ and ‘Elvis Is Dead’ (not the test tubes song) are strong on the dark humour vibe but all their songs seem to be hitting the spot tonight. Obnoxious are tight and swaggery, big and beefy and have some beautiful dirty rock n roll riffs and licks. I love this band because they are not generic, they are taking influences and using them. I have said this before, they are reminiscent of Attak and I love both bands. They look and move like a band and produce top notch punk of whatever subgenre you choose to put on em. Splendid, lovely.
The Duel are the last band of the day and numbers have dwindled but as always The Duel give it their all. They kick off with ‘What Do You Do When The Money Runs Out’, a song about being homeless in Camden and having to sell your body etc, harrowing, beautiful but harrowing. They are a bunch of smartly dressed punkers fronted by a young Debbie Harry type character but you knew that anyway. Tara and the boys rock it up in a punk meets new wave kind of way. Iggy, The Clash, Ramones Blondie, Patti Smith The Duel are following in your footsteps and they are doing you proud. Tight outfit with, bass, guitar, drums, keys and vocals. They can play and they can entertain. They do so extremely well with the few that remain this evening. Tara struts, stomps and poses magnificently and the lads behind her play as tight as the rusty arthritic joints of Robbie The Robot although The Duel machine is incredibly well oiled. They were demanded to do an encore which they got the remaining audience on the stage to do with them. The Clash's ‘London Calling’ was amazing fun and although I had never thought of Bruce Tality as a capitalist I had never seen a beamer as big as the one on his face. ‘Babylons Burning’ to finish then with the extended ‘Duel’, also amazing sounding and amazing fun.
Ok then a piss poor turnout to see some awesome bands. Raised some cash although not much. Although with a breakfast in Guatemala City costing about twelve pence some children were fed.
Sometimes other people’s apathy makes others feel like giving up but street kids can’t just give up being homeless and potential murder victims and the punks who continue to shine will. The rest...
Proceeds to Casa Alianza UK.
review by Gary Eagling (1 Oct 2013)