FUNGALPUNK GIG REVIEWS
The Soundhouse, Bolton is a new venue that has the potential to become the best punk gaff in the North West. It was a privilege to put the first punk show on there and what better way to open up with an 8 band spectacle culminating in a UK Subs finale. Arriving at 2pm with the idea of kicking off at four was optimistic in the extreme as an England match was taking place and punks these days don't usually turn out early. I don't know why its just the way it goes? Anyway we waited but by 5.15pm things needed to get going so The Fractions opened up.
This young ska/punk outfit produced their usual good show with things temporarily interupted by guitar problems (namely a twanged string). Overall this was pretty good and displayed an ever growing confidence and ability that surely must carry this lot on to better things. Their CD's are excellent value and fuckin' good stuff and backs up their live performances. A pleasure as always.
With a good opening and a surging guilt (due to lack of punters present for the band) Outlaw hit the stage to an equally almost empty gaff. Again this was good and these musical urchins are really doing the business and playing some great sets. A few hiccups were over rode and 'If The Kids Are United' is a distinctive faux pas in their set. Despite being delivered well it is a bit too chessy for me and detracts from this lots talent. Obviously more gigs are coming Outlaw's way and fully deserved it is. 'Black Flowers' was the pick as well as 'Jeremy Bentham'. Good stuff - again.
Next Suspicious Stains in 3 piece mode which started off weaker than a fart from a recently sealed ringpiece. Guitar too low and a bit nervy this was a million miles away from the recent high this lot have been cruising on. Obviously without a regular guitarist the pressures on but the Stains dug in and eventually after turning the guitar up, inviting Fractions Graham to do a few numbers and finding their feet produced a pretty good effort. Anne's voice added a nice angry edge and the finale of 'Kids In America' saved the day. Bloody excellent number this and the Stains delivered in true light-hearted and convincing style. A new guitar maestro is an urgent requirement so these deviants can get back to where they belong.
BillyClub next and the days best performance was had. Pure aggression and vitality mixed with awesome class and execution this was a masterclass in punk rock brutality. An unremitting musical onslaught from the outset brought the crowd to life in appreciation of a great band at work. Each member played a stunner and brought about a simply memorable performance. '747', 'Smash It Up'' and the simply classic 'I Saw God' were the pick from an unsoiled batch of anthems. By simply gigging more this lot could be one of the best bands in the world and gain the respect they deserve. Class.
Next Churchill who dished out the uniquely cultured yob yelling anthems with admirable ease. The sound let them down severely and was treble-some throughout. Having said this and seen Churchill sound loads better this was still good and brought about some great feedback and appreciation from the crowd. 'This Ones For The Skins' and 'Steamin In' were the best for me and its obvious Churchill are now an established band to be reckoned with. Go check em' out A.S.A.P.
Main support band Crouch Mog eventually hit the stage and delivered their youthful brand of American-esque new wave to a still unconvinced audience. Technically superb and always a delight to have around this lot deserved better but with the aforementioned crowds attitude and a still dodgy sound the Mog struggled to hit the spot. Paul played a stunner and his enthusiastic streak was a joy. Andy stayed focused and produced the goods and Damo bounced around in excellent spunk filled joy. Nige banged away with classy excellence and the whole set grew in stature. This is a fuckin great band and I enjoyed it but a new approach is maybe needed (especially by the punters). Admire the genius here and support this lot because if these lads came from the USA - believe me they would be big. Sadly they've got the British stigma and that holds them back. This lot are too good to be daunted by that and I'm sure will succeed - sooner rather than later - I for one hope so.
Lastly The UK Subs. The place now was very busy and it just highlighted that people are only basically interested in big bands. Hey ho. Anyway The Subs played a belter and knocked out the expected array of great songs. I say expected but 'Barbies Dead' was a nice inclusion and was played like it was a regualr set number. As usual the Subs were class with all members playing superbly especially new addition Pete Goldblade. This ended a great gig and set up the opportunity for more great punk nights out in Bolton at a simply fantastic venue.
I went home pleased with the day in general and disappointed for the early bands who had a shite crowd. As said the All-Dayer maybe is a thing of the past and for me that stinks. But this was a good day so lets keep it upbeat and remember it for some great performances and let us look forward to a lot more to come. Cheers to everyone who made this a stunner.
review by OMD (4th September 2006)