A long day in the cold meant I turned up to this gig a bit tired, with muddy boots and with a chill in my bones only a good dose of Cognac would shift. Thankfully this was an early start and an early finish and thoughts of a warm bed didn't seem that far away. Ooooh man!
Arriving in more than fine time despite the busy day it was no surprise at the faces and disgraces who I encountered hanging around in the doorway. Sam and Babs of the STP triumvirate were on door duties, that rockin' lass Katie from Pedigree Skum was hovering before her set, Stu himself was mooching with only a T-shirt protecting his ample body from the elements and Tim 'Punk4Life' Davies came out of hibernation and chatted away. One surprise though was a vision I didn't expect - that of Arthur Billingsley also known as Arturo Bassick and frontman of that exceptional (and too often overlooked band) The Lurkers. Where has this dude been? A good catch up was had, chits and chats with many more faces taken and a beer downed before the first band were up, at it and delivering to what was a decent crowd.
Pedagree Skum are a band who play it very retro and change their direction many times throughout the set and so keep one intrigued. The opening songs today were a reflection of this but alas were absolutely hammered by a dreadful sound that saw feedback creep in and slight befuddlement rein. Vocally the start was a strain as the sonics were just not right and front lass Katie was given a rough old ride although she got on with it and kept it as raw and real as you like. Add to this I felt the band started in a somewhat under-rehearsed style and they did seem quite slack in parts and not really flowing as they should. As the set progressed however more uniformity was had and the lead lady started moving more and displaying a sanguinity one would expect from someone so colourful and attentive to her looks. The range of styles was good and the band are obviously trying to push themselves in many directions and throughout the second half of the outpouring gained a good degree of success. Songs regarding alcoholism and domestic violence as well as a ditty about statistics (Standard Deviation) all displayed a thought behind the product and at the end of the offering my verdict had improved. Decent band who are trying and with a bit more tweaking, twanging and overall 'ooomph' will progress into a feisty machine for sure. As usual - watch this space.
Destination Venus have been on a self inflicted hiatus and I hadn't witnessed these guys in action for nigh on 7 years. This was their first performance back into the punk rock pit and man what a fuckin' good do it was. From first to last the melody was high, the rhythm attractive and the energy levels controlled and yet visually busy. The man at the fore sang in tune, with great passion and star jumped, jigged and pow powed his way to glory with his fellow musical minstrels creating some fruity pop punk rock and roll that was an utter, utter joy. The band looked as though they were feeling lucky and certainly didn't hang around whilst delivering one wham bam number after another. They let it go, rattling along and exuding a noise that defied the shitty sound system and with songs of many flavours Destination Venus really stamped forth the fact they are back with a bang. And again - watch this space...man!
Snide Remarks are a band I know nothing about so this review is as embryonic and virginal as it seems and although initial instincts can be misleading I can only scribble down what I feel and about the sonic rush that hit me. Looking at the band individually the guitar player kept a stern look upon is face, made sure things were kept powered up, riffed and without too much complication and stayed pretty static throughout whereas the bassist moved a little more, maintained some good rhythm and filled in any vacancies within the acoustic void that snuck in here and there. A good duo for sure with a steady sticks man at the back and a sanguine singer at the front all contributing to a good powerful package that just seemed to get better and better with each noise laden thrust. Leaping from the stage the vocal voodoo man went forth to spread his melodic magic and did so with gusto, spirit and in yer face insistence (and there ain't nowt wrong with that). The band left on the stage ploughed on and kept the ship stable and were soon rejoined by their now perspiring partner. A few more forays into the crowd by the front gob, a couple of water based assaults and we were done with a ‘Blitzkrieg Bop’ to close. Impression made - yes very solid indeed.
An Arthur Bliss, a wag of the chin and back up for the most anticipated band of the night - Loaded 44. The band came, bared their acoustic arses and were raped quite appallingly by the sound system and so at three quarters way through I left them to it. The two songs I used as a yardstick were the epic 'Drop That Bomb' and 'Say Nothing' both of which are choice offerings but tonight were polluted innocents ruined by acoustics hell-bent on destruction. Throughout this was a nightmare and I felt sorely let down and as a result I do need to catch up with this lot real soon. I won't hammer on, the in house PA was a new un' and teething problems are par for the course so there I shall leave it - disappointed and desiring another fix. Bastard!
So another STP show and although not the ending I wanted the gig was as per usual of high quality. 4 good bands for 4 golden nuggets at a venue that is always welcoming and filled with noisy memories. The crowd tonight was pretty decent too with some real reliables turning up and contributing to what is a solid core to build upon. The show must go on and in what steadier hands could it continue than those of Stu Taylor - this wandering bugger appreciates it and long may it thrive.
review by Fungalpunk/OMD (29 January 2012)