FUNGALPUNK GIG REVIEWS
Two gigs in one weekend and the previous one ruined by an overindulgence of sherry, vodka, cider and lager, which when combined with an unstable mental attitude is a recipe for chaos and disaster. The gig on the Saturday was a write-off rather than a write-up and despite seeing two bands I missed the rest and indulged in being a general all round offensive bugger. I fancied a blow-out but not at the expense of others enjoyment - aaagghh - such are the hazards of being disgruntled with the world, asking too many questions, mixing ale and pills and having a nature that is always poking on the precipice of what should not be. So to the gig next day at The Star and Garter. With the shakes, a dickie tummy and a heart on overdrive (yes the palpitations are still haywire and the ale overdose didn't help) I arrived at the gaff and kept to a strict regime of Elderberry and Pear fizzy water (Stu Taylor the promoter did persuade me to have a tin of Fosters but it tasted like shite - cheers anyway man and to Daz Leake for the Coke which went down much better).
I shan't piss about today - into the meat of the music we go in strict, structured style - are ye ready.
One - Septic Psychos. What can I say - if you have already seen these you know what to expect, fist-flying, rocket-fuelled intensity created by a bassist who manipulates the 4-string sword with a necessary rapid-fire, melodic momentum that lays foundations for the hard-riffing, counter punching stringman to fuzz over the soundscape and help build up the final montage of organised mayhem (a cute paradox). Stickwise is a remarkably efficient area with the dude seemingly doing less than what he is creating - in fact the clatter he contributes is impressive but he just does it so easily without any pointless arm-waving or flamboyance. Chiz at the fore loves it - he rolls his clenched fists, punches the air, skips a merry war dance and more than efficiently delivers his honest vocal growl with such approachable passion. This is a fine unit worthy of a place on any gig you can think of and you have to say when bands of this standard are opening gigs the quality out there is just delectable. Best songs - I love em' all but 'Not Racist Just Bald' is becoming a bit of a minor anthem and should be noted. 'Two Wrongs Make A Riot' was an equally delicious track too - have some of these and when at Rebellion give em' your support - they are good chaps who deserve it for sure.
Two - Bite Back. The bands debut CD was given its first assessment by Fungal and despite having missed them 'live' on several occasions I was happy to catch up with this crew at last. The CD promised much, Richie Rocker on guitar always throws everything in to the mix and with two fine muso's to help it was one certainly to look forward to - and I was not disappointed. Seeped in old-school basics, freshened up with learned enthusiasm and a downright love for punk the band came and conquered with an astounding array of quality tracks delivered with genuine relish and loveable belief. Hocky on bass is remarkably well at home in his new role and is it me or has his singing style become more varied, more lucid and more fuckin' effective? He did a good job for Instant Agony but this does indeed seem a move forward. Sticks were unbelievably steady and convincing which of course allows for the sound to stay in-line and operate at the max. The aforementioned Richie Rocker is the ultimate kid in a sweet shop and if ever your punk rock enthusiasm is lacking then get a piece of this bugger. He loves it and that infection spills from the stage in buckets of passionate perspiration and sonic spirit. This band will get great gigs along the way and great reviews and so I suspect this is one of the opening bursts of initial praise they can expect - and well deserved it is. Top of the Pops - 'Ignore The Fools' and 'Open Your Eyes' - class!
Three - Choking Susan. Seen em' before and have been impressed, 1 listen to their new CD unimpressed, tonight - very good indeed and although with a few songs that border on the tacky (which this band certainly are not) I gotta say you get your moneys worth with this lot. Of course the centre of attention is the colourful teaser Colleen Caffeine. Like a predator seeking out here sonic prey who warbles, screeches, verbally scrawls her message that is titivating, sometimes cheap and always on the precipice of something tongue in cheek (or wherever else her tongue ends up). She looks the part and grabs all the attention but watch the players around her - a well organised crew plying a trade that is a shame to let go unnoticed. What you get here is high entertainment built on a fair noise and that noise element is the key although in the main, as suspected, peckers and peepers were on one thing - bah! Quite a few new songs were thrown in tonight and I'll shy away from picking a highlight - I need to get back to the CD before I put my balls on the line - they may just get bitten off and I am sure many would pay for the pleasure. End verdict - great 'live' act who don't need songs about cocks and thimble tits - but some like that subject matter so why not?
Four - Noise Agents. Having spoken to frontman Andy and guitarist Chris before the gig it seemed that these veteran punkers were on a ready roll and loving every minute of their current project. Under no illusions they know the crack within the scene and are just on a mission to enjoy, create good tunes and please as many punters as they can along the way - which they certainly did tonight. Once again we have a crew loaded with experience and efficiency and all obviously contributing to a highly harmonised concoction that put these in good stead for a return visit to Manc land. The crowd warmed as the gig went forth and one feeling I got throughout was the sense of a charming English spirit that kept this highly believable. Good song after good song and although near enough out on my feet I got through and applauded along after each ditty. The final Cock Sparrer chuck out was cornball stuff for me but the crowd loved it and who am I to disagree - still awful to my ears though ha, ha. Another fine band and gotta see em' again soon for sure.
Five - Rust. Australian power, speed, in yer face brutality with a frontman using the stage as a gymnasium and getting a bloody good work out whilst dishing out a superb set of mind-mincing songs (crafty bugger). Many had spoken highly of this unit and last time they were over this end I was chasing butterflies in a far flung field and so missed the mania. Immediate comparisons are made with the British Oi scene and in truth these guys could hold their own with the lot of em'. The pace and technical ability is all well and good but its the undying fire in the belly that is a prominent feature and the incessant ramrod of big hurtful riffs, blistering drum work and furious as fuck vocals. Prior to the gig I had been given a 'live' Rust CD to review and first impressions were of a good effort indeed (not the easiest thing in the world to capture a 'live' set) but this was utter fuckin' class. The resounding rhythmic desire, the full-on style and the conviction all combined to recharge my fucked and flickering batteries and I left the room after the last song quite thrilled tha' knows. It had been a long weekend and I needed something special to keep me upright to the finish line - Rust I thank thee for providing just that.
So I am done and cheers to all for a great evening. I write this after a good jog to clear the cobwebs and deciding to stay on the ever continuing path of obscurity a little more and to wrap up with the ale for a good while after upsetting a few folk with my pissed up antics. I do my bit and via passion and disgruntlement sometimes spill overboard and tread on many toes. I have found myself somewhat in a routined rut and with one thing and another its time to flit even more in search of the overlooked and personal targets. Enjoy, keep the faith, be good, keep the punk real and not as a hobby because you have nothing else in your life and most importantly be a fruitcake with many flavours.
review by Fungalpunk/OMD (30th July 2012)