FUNGALPUNK GIG REVIEWS
After staying up till' the wee small hours the night before catching moths at Ainsdale English Nature I was absolutely fucked before even going to this gig. Several times I had tried to get some sleep in the baking sun that day and failed miserably. So after picking up some Willow leaves to feed my army of Puss Moth caterpillars I headed to the gig with sleepy eyes and fuzzy head. I could have done without this gig but sometimes you gotta put a bit of extra effort in and support the cause. Noz is a good egg, the bands tonight were a nice mix and knowing what a bastard it is to put on gigs all gave me reason enough to make a cameo appearance.
I arrived to a busy crowd and what was the latter end of a wedding party with 1 band still yet to play. Lucky for Noz he had a ready made crowd but how many would stick around? Anyway the band left to play was, luckily for me, Total Bloody Chaos. I say luckily for me as I do like this outfit and their brand of 'piss basin' punk (there said it). There is a general griminess of sound here that infects the ejaculated racket and gives it a pleasing stench which gutter punkers will adore - from the bowels of the blaring bog to the dizzy heights of the sonic cistern so to speak! The main challenge tonight was that they had recently parted company with their bass player and had Lowlife UK prune Fat Paul Enema standing in for one or two tracks which he gave impressions of being rather unsure about. Anyway the set went ahead and despite a wanky on-stage sound and the lack of original 4-stringed strummer I thought the band did well and produced a set that held its own. Each individual is now well settled in their role and this shows with a more complete output and a more persuasive stage presence. Lots of fun is had with usually frontman Doddy at the butt of the other members jibes and wind-ups. Poor bugger but he battles on and what a good job he does! Graham on drums looked determined tonight and put in a good effort, the guitarist gave forth his usually individual excellence and Jo bopped and shrieked with the best of em'. Ok there were some blips here and there when timing went astray but there was nothing here to be ashamed about. 'Vigilante' is always a fave as is the signature tune 'Total Bloody Chaos' and tonight 'Stupid' and 'No Notice' rose taller and bloomed bright. OK so I am a TBC fan but in all truth this was far from the impending disaster the band seemed to expect before they went on stage. Good on em' and get to one of this lots shows as soon as - spirited and always entertaining!
Gabbing outside a gaff in between bands is a dangerous pursuit as one can get carried away and miss a variety of performances. Ok so some actually stay outside as they would rather socialise than punkilise but I prefer chatting and then getting back in to support the players. Isn't that why we should attend gigs or am I missing something here? Anyway with head hung in shame I confess to missing at least 4 of Rebel Conspiracy's songs and when I did enter the viewing arena it seems that it was really my loss. RC haven't been around that long, in fact their first gig was for my fungalised self a few months ago. On that occasion they did well and showed promise but tonight was a lot more further down the line towards being the finished article. It was more than a little obvious that this crew practice and practice hard with the general efficiency, tightness and final execution all noteworthy. The bassist is looking more relaxed, the drummer becoming more frenzied and frontman guitarist/vocalist Bartek really growing in stature. Despite his obsession with plasticine caterpillars Bartek seems to retain enough energy to ignite the bands spirit and it is paying dividends. I couldn't find fault here and maybe one or two slower moments need adding to break up the overall blast but my basic opinion is to just keep on the way you are going. Very, very exciting and in 6 months it will be interesting to see what this three-piece have developed into. Mind you if the drummers addiction to Horse Chestnuts continues he may not be around in 6 months and perhaps will be locked away in the recently opened David Bellamy Rehab Arboretum! What a shame that would be - oooh grapple me grapenuts!
Next a new band for me - Wonk Unit! I didn't know what to expect here and the disjointed abstractedness of a quirked up expulsion that drifted into insane poetry and draining punkology worked a fuckin' treat and gave promise of a band who are soaring through the punk circles from a variety of awkward angles and twisted tangents. The overall sound hinted at poppiness but had a lot more snottiness and cut-throat restlessness. This made for an eye-catching show with all 3 components contributing greatly to the final turd of tuneage. The impressive part is that the band are hard to nail down in terms of category and for me that is always a good thing. Glimpses of skater, crustoid, poppity, yanking, skanking, fun-time sub-genres were all given as the final blend forever swirled with changing hues. The main thing is this was a darn good thrash out and the essence was of a spirited trio who do what they do well. The songs were catchy and put across with genuine perspiration and this is definitely one of the most eye-catching bands that I have seen lately. Nice one Noz!
The X-Rippers - fuckin' hell I have seen these guys a few times. The trips to Barnsley were always fun and I have yet to see this lot and come away unhappy. Tonight was no exception and despite the mikes playing up and the initial sound being totally piss poor the lads battled through and turned what could have been a pimpled rump of a set into a real smooth ass of brilliance. All the old faves were there with 'Pop Idol' a crowd winner, 'Jimmy Kelly' and 'Who's The Doctor' both fuckin' awesome tunes that have a meaner side, 'Rolex' as usual the swift snippet of idiocy that provokes and brings fun and a couple of covers (cheers for 'CID') thrown in for the nostalgia brigade. 'Kill A Clown' is a fuckin' awesome song that hasn't been around for that long and shows there's life in these old dogs yet. 'Troglodyte' always raises a smile with Brent's charm more than apparent and 'Five O' is a good piece of footballing thump-up tomfoolery. A great band with a great set of classics - what more do you fuckin' want? It seems at last that this crew are turning a few more heads and I think it is about time. Stockport take well to these buggers and I hope this continues further afield for a band who always hit the mark.
Lastly for me tonight it was One Man Stand. How many times I have seen this crew is nobodies business (36 actually) and at the moment they are playing and producing the best. Tonight was filled with solid songs and despite a pissy sound that had muffled vocals (or are my ears on the blink) I thought they did remarkable well. The new songs are sounding good (despite Chris the bass not having a clue what they are about ha, ha) and all 3 members are raising their game. Jan was as nervous as ever before hitting the stage (silly twat) but soon settled in and will be as self-critical as ever after the gig (yes silly twat). I couldn't complain with the stick mans do and in fact of nothing what I saw. The pick of the pops - all good although the final blast seemed to lose some clout as frontman Ant seemed a little fagged out. One track that did raise interest was a new one which broke into a wonderful skanking moment and displayed a whole new aspect to this crew. Good stuff and despite the crowd trickling off towards the end (bastards) OMS proved a point! The point is - OMS are a damn good band who have been sorely let down by their own town and in fact the piss-arse attitude of the British punk populace. The fact that they have to go to Japan to gain any real recognition is testament to a scene over here that stinks of idle-headed apathy. I'm impressed and you really should be switching on to this and enjoying the upsurge - lovely!
So I was fucked and apologies to the last 2 bands for not sticking around. I am a busy fucker and I can't do everything so if anyone wants to finish this review then bung it over and I'll tag it on the end - be most welcome and I am sure appreciated by the bands. Well done Noz and happy birthday mate - keep up the good work and I hope the lollipop man drops those charges.
review by OMD (31 May 2009)