FUNGALPUNK GIG REVIEWS
A fridge full of mushies, a backlog of CD reviews, numerous outstanding chores to do, two grand lasses to love and protect, a busy week ahead, a pocket full of tangents and a head full of stresses - here's a review - albeit flashing, frivolous in parts but hopefully passionate in the main and encouraging arses to be moved, inspired or (as expected) ludicrously stubborn.
A day out for a meal with my wife and daughter knocked the stuffing out of me and I could have done with the rest of the day in bed whilst the scrummy food was digested and my tired carcass was rested. The rains came forth and as I looked out of the window I really could have done without a trail into murky Manc to see some noise that in the main I was more than familiar with. But - loyalty in this scene is sparse (despite what they tell you) and so with a few who have earned and deserve my humble support I put on my stinking attire (been shrooming again tha' knows) and headed for the gaff via the kind hands of my missus who drives me here and there with out owing her a bean (a rare commodity in these debt-ridden times) - Ta sweetie!
A chat outside with a few of The Senton Bombs (in the chilled rains of course), more chats inside with some fruity people whom I have a lot of time for and after purchasing a couple of bottles of water I headed upstairs to watch...
The Senton Bombs are an outfit I have been pondering now for a goodly while and are a crew whom I have told people about over and over again. Their fourth trip to Manchester and would it be a deflation or inflation as regards their potential, standing and overall delivery. Personally I expected something special and I was not to be disappointed. What a fuckin' performance - talk about nailing it! The Bombs excelled tonight and were aided by a sound that gave them the best treatment of the lot and seemed to compliment their racket making more than any of the bands to follow. Of course due to the band being more rock orientated a few of the pickier punks were not thoroughly taken but those with more eclectic vibes within their soul fuckin' loved it hence the good feedback and CD sales after the show. The main ingredient tonight was that the band totally and utterly went for it and plied their trade with passion and belief and sexually screwed around with their chosen noise making weapons and let us all...have it. Both 6 string deviants manipulated their armoury into orgasmic highs, Joey at the fore caressed his bass with expert hands and frothed up a real cockrock vocal style that dripped with saturated relish and cool dude vigour. Mason on the sticks is a sight to behold when hammering away with intensity and surely if he carries on his drumming skills will gain due acclaim. Each and every song pulsated, rocked with identifiable spirit and swaggered with yet another new found understanding of how to rock out! Marvellous and rather than pick out one or two tunes I recommend the whole fuckin' lot has a treat to be savoured. The bands best showing by far and a long way from the days when I very much doubted them as a unit. Even though I had that initial doubt I still gave them a gig because I believed something was there - sometimes it is nice to be proved right - thanks lads!
Down and a chat with a few more boat races and back up for the much proclaimed Vox Dolomites. Many local are very vocal as regards this crew and seem carried away on a one way voyage to the land of fantasy. Come on dudes keep it in check these are a good unit but we can surely squeeze some more out of em'. Firstly the sound tonight I felt didn't compliment the bands mix of skank and punk and that is a thing to consider for future shows. It seems this alternating style needs a certain accompanying sound system and although the crew have a bevy of beauties to bare the full frontal was marred by a slightly awkward sound. No-ones fault and as the previous band thrived the VD victims strived. Having said this the crowd were enthralled and perhaps not as bloody picky as me but when I see a band rising to the crest of a wave I only see it fit to push em' onwards (if only for the sheer reason of proving me wrong ha, ha). Musically the band are very structured and have good flavours to mull over and although the skankier side is still not convincing me I find when mixed with harder moments it does work. I can see where the band are aiming and am just not fully aligned with them yet with my main gripe the clarity between each style not totally contrasting enough. A minor niggle and one many will disagree with (hey I ain't fuckin' fibbing just to be on board the good ship Agreement) but these things must be said. My favourite moments are when the band fuckin' surge with abandon rather than think a little too much - then the natural side of the talented players shines brighter and proceedings seem to liquidise and drip forth without effort. Perhaps I listen to too much ska and that is where I find myself less convinced but one thing I would suggest is that the band carry on regardless - I can envision some big, big productions coming from this crew and the genuine potential to be fully tapped. 'GLC' was the moment I left - you should all know me - bloody covers indeed but one thing is for sure - this band ain't full of shit (maybe unlike me - beat ya to it ya buggers - sussed)! Overall though a decent bunch of chaps testing themselves - gotta be a bonus!
More nattering downstairs assisted me in missing the first couple of thrusts from a band with plenty of gas, a lean old sound and a certain amount of thrill - but how much thrill would they create in Fungal's pernickety old soul? To be blunt not much and it is nothing more than a case of 'need to see again'. Sometimes first viewings are easy to assess and now and again they just leave one with little to say - I am in the latter stage. Obviously a band with some good options, several stronger songs, a couple of ones that came and went and a few covers that need dumping to one side but on the whole a crew I could neither rate nor slate on one showing alone. From a neutral stance the crowd seemed taken, a few gave fair judgement and found favour in the main and just disliked the odd ditty and the response to the set was more than reasonable - ooh I hate being lost for words. Next time I will be more exact - sorry people!
The closure and Leather Zoo - a band I am particularly fond of and now a unit with a DLA claimant and all round benefit fraud on drums. Travis McTucky is the new stick master and a man with a sordid past. Alcoholic, animal beater, arsonist, Jimmy Saville impersonator, a man who enjoys masturbating on public door handles and a man who has been convicted of conducting indecent acts with ex-Generation Game contestants on no les than 17 occasions Mr McTucky is a dude to be reckoned with in the halls of deviancy. This aside he is a good drummer but hey what do trivialities matter ha, ha! So to the Zoo Crew and what did we get - a stumbling start with the opening number seemingly taking ages to get going and once again the sound not complimenting as ideally as I would have liked. 'Fleur De Lis' is an epic track and was left raped by an ambience that refused to compliment. This was a dramatic state of play throughout and when 'Serial Killer' also fell short of the expected heady zenith I so achingly anticipated I couldn't help but feel a trifle disappointed. Again a bunch of great people whom it guts me to have to not give a glowing review to but alas honesty prevails and that undoubtedly will be at my expense - bah! Don't get me wrong the band played well to the 25 in attendance (yes only 25 neutrals for a great band) but the vitality, the intricacies, the general artistry just weren't given the correct assistance and for me the show wasn't the full on success as I wanted. If the band were utter shite and I expected grubby FA then this would have been splendid fare but they have given me too much in the past and as per - FUNGAL DEMANDS. Once more the majority enjoyed (well they said they did) and a few felt deflated but one thing is for sure this lot will not be hindered by this review and will hopefully take it for what it is - honest. Mel at the fore is an accomplished crooner and has a voice many front lasses would die for and I reckon if the gaff would have been loaded tonight we would have felt the purity of the utterances a little more than we did - hey ho - things happen, we move on. Next time for sure and the only gripe I would have on tonight's showing is to forget the in-between song banter when the crowd are really not responding - a dry old bunch in Manc they can be.
So there you have it - back to the mushies for Bonzo after another bout of textual recording and hopefully assessing the scene and one of its murky nights. The turn-out was a bit of an insult, the talent though impressive and although a night I found a few niggles with I can't fault anyone for their efforts. No doubt I'll take some flack for this review and the odd drop of praise for being up-front and supportive but either way I do my bit and fuckin' well try.
The end result is of Manchester still a scene of circles unwilling to overlap, too many punkers stuck in their ways, loads of talent going unnoticed whilst the corporate wank thrives and of Mr Stu Taylor doing his bit and being fuckin' well applauded by the few. The usual message is had - 'ON WE MUST GO'!
review by Fungalpunk/OMD (1 October 2012)