FUNGALPUNK GIG REVIEWS
The golden orb floated in an ocean of blue, my good lady saw me off at Stockport train station where I joined the rest of the travellers on the packed mechanical tube. The day was underway for another DIY Purism gig. I sat facing an elderley couple on the train - one big breasted and clucking, the other shagged out and pecked. Through the rolling greens of Derbyshire and several sable tunnels we went to arrive at Sheffield where the airwaves cleared and the driver informed everyone to move to the first 3 carriages. A cussing came for the aged gent from his jaw wagging wife due to his reluctance to budge stating that we were already in the first three carriages. A spat, a fall out - the wife went forward, the man, eventually went sideways. I tootled on, by heck people hey!
Onwards to Meadowhall and off. A split platform here, my target was No 4. Once there the sun still shone, Chiffchaff, Blackbird and Pied Wagtail were calling, Flowering Currant and Blackthorn were resplendent with blooms - excellent. Ooh I need a squirt, the kidney stones push the liquids - no karsi's, distraction is the best policy. Hairy Bittercress was observed, Buff Tailed Bumbly's enjoyed - hey up, here's the train.
A wander into the first of the 3 gaffs putting bands on today, namely Churchills. Hellos, key to room and then off for a wander down the Pennine Trail to Gypsy Marsh RSPB - needs must. Warm sun, 26 birds seen and 3 Peacock Butterflies on the wing - nice. On the way back I cracked the first can of ale open, sweet. Into the Prince of Wales where the opening band would be playing, outside stage was looking good, why not indeed? Co-Promoter Andrew Rossi was there as well as top sound guy Dave Shaw who worked his darn arse off throughout the day and pulled out a stunner. Bands started to arrive, we were nearly underway.
I gotta be true to myself and the Underdog cause so the first band to get the Fungalised treatment were Spitune (playing at The Old Town Hall), an anarchic melee of abstraction, distraction and confounding angularity. Visually these merchants look like dabbling deviants who are immersed in a world of challenging noise, the whole soundscape is drawn from the sonic autistic spectrum where we are all registered and just need to pay a little more attention. The abuse, I personally feel, is aimed at the flimsy conscience of the passing music fan and is continually throwing down a ground gauntlet to test those that want things easy. Washing boards, synths, baking trays, fire extinguishers etc. were all tapped, rapped and twatted whilst bass weaved and vocals pecked. The crowd was split, some looked on bewildered , some appreciated the melodic composite - it is always going to be like that. For me it is a welcome two fingered salute to the norm, to the pest known as procedure, to the everyday routine rhythms we all over indulge in. It ain't easy sonic fodder to swallow, but my palate can be quite perverse. Like a boil on the anus - you shouldn't prod and poke but the digit is always there, just one more feel, just one more pleasurable push on the pus filled bag. Footnote - Boris is still a twat!
Back to The Prince of Wales across the road and to inspect some coughed up Riggots - sounds nasty. On the outside stage with an old wall background adorned with mosses, liverworts, lichens and ferns this fist fucking 2 piece form Wigan smashed it big time with a blazing rock and roll trail of spicy sonica underlined with a garage element and a hardcore incessancy. The violence at heart won through, the skins duly twatted, the strings readily raped - this was inflammable stuff for sure. Hard fought holler outs came, certain delicacies only emphasised the discordant drama. The minimalism of 2 artistes was renovated into turgid, consuming power and many were taken and duly throttled. The clatter had matter, the outweighed lighter bursts were essential, hey this was so good a passing bird duly paid a shit based compliment onto the drummer’s snare which was splattered this way and that. It all added to the banishment of anything mediocre - fuckin' blistering! The song that stood out was called 'All Dressed Up To Get Bummed Over A Bin In King Street', I know that place, spent many years stomping around Wigan, the violence was insane, some things never change - thank goodness that the old home ground is still producing some disgruntled quality.
Back and forth we go, The Old Town Hall again, Hoogerland came next and plied us with subtle drifting, softly accurate tunes that wonderfully captured a sweetness built on sub garage, tinted indie alternative, poppoid idiosyncrasies - then again - it may be the other way round! The combo of the aforementioned sub genres grabbed a choice vibe from out of the acoustic mire and Hoogerland played a winning recipe to the max. Inoffensive, appealing, well vocalised and loaded with numerous pleasing melodies. This lot are musically sharp, don't want to blow balls off but instead are happy to tickle the said globes and tremble them with many a delightful ditty. I like it, many others did too - we may have to do this again.
Outside again and darkness was setting in, The Krayons took to the stage. Ripped up straight from the start, 'Plastic Piggy', 'No Gods, No Masters' 'Cash Generation' were all slammed down your guzzling gullet with no room to belch. The political rage of 'Bedroom Tax' was hurtled out next with a sincere 'get to fuck' impulsiveness that this old dog is certainly very appreciative of. This music wipes its arse on the blanket of pretence and is pure youthful rage built on foundations in the know, unwilling to compromise and filled with 'have a go and sod it' spirit. A chill was setting in the air, The Krayons were keeping everyone warm with the fierce noise and rabble rousing clout and then the bands best two songs 'Don't Believe' and 'Kill The Tories', both skanked up in part and opposing the necessary power thrusts in others. Excellent stuff and this lot keep improving and are steadily making inroads into the non-believers psyche. Keep rocking!
A chat, was it worth carrying on outdoors - we decided not, the parky night air was too much for the gentle Yorkshire folk.
Last 3 bands back at the Old Town Hall.
The Franceens came, fractured the stratosphere with an intense thunderbolt of incredible garage melody many bands can only dream of. My stance on this trio is well known - one of the best bands on the circuit for sure and hammering home the point I always make - why watch the same old, same old when new exciting noise like this is being spilt onto your laps. The swing, the impulse, the veritable discordant bite all add to the intrigue as The Franceens plough through their delectable set. Drums, bass, strings/gob are all marvellous components and work together is such pure unity. Each one seems to ooze more and more confidence with every viewing and that young gent at the fore is a real stalwart when it comes to strong, sincere spirit and sonic output. 'Stone', Pledge', 'Attack', You Got It' etc. etc. fucking etc. it is all there to be enjoyed, taken to heart and fuckin' rocked with. The blistering approach builds, the bass weaves along and provides a stunning underlay of well woven melody whilst skins are trashed with accuracy and delivered with newfound flamboyance. Strings and gobbage never fail to disagree with my palate and Mr Gott is a prime example of everything that should be right about music. The Franceens I salute you, after all these years I still get this initial rush of what music first meant to me. Next...
The Hoolivans - delightful unassuming gents, just the 2 of them, easy as you go. Originally they were set up for the outdoor do but people were reluctant it seems to bare their asses so indoors we be. This was a fine showing, foot tappingly swimming with the bare stripped down honesty rising due to forethought and open transparent song writing. The content is solid, the delivery reliable, the rhythm slowly absorbing. I recently reviewed a three song CD by this lot, this booking was a matter of course after that. 'Zimmers' was a track that stuck, tonight it slotted in to a collection of charmed outputs. Mid tempoed throughout, lightly salted, man off the street gobbage - what more do we require?
And so to...huff, puff, slurp and stagger...
Fat Phace, a set aflame with new edge melodies and a desired focus with a saturated string scape and excellent riffage. The wires duelled but remained in unison, the textures of this ripened sound reflected a band with much experience and a vintage vein running throughout which of course gives rise to good discordant blood flow and much exciting discord. The years of preening the acoustical feathers is paying dividends and the stalwarts in attendance were lapping up this accomplished musicianship as the band flew free and soared to many fine heights. The recent album I reviewed was a delight and this performance was backing up my thoughts of a tight knit crew who know their stuff. Great work and although I was fagged out and alcohol soaked I had enough left to enjoy the ride.
Last up and to Churchills for Green Day UK - Mr Rossi step in and do thy stuff sir.
And that was that, a drink til 3.30am in the Churchills Bar was had in good company (cheers for the beer, shots and accommodation Tony - respect man), cheers to Andy Rossi for being co-promoter, top chap and a reliable rocker who is a delight to know, Dave Shaw the sound guy (wow man, wow) the bands, the punters, the other landlords, the weather and in general anyone who contributed to a fine day out. Hopefully we will be back.
Next day I was fagged but managed a good walk and some fine birding at Old Moor (42 species). A cracking jaunt this, one to call upon when I get miffed with the manky music scene, the Underdog battle goes on, slow, steady, unstoppable and with much talent to back up any argument - think on. Cheers Wombwell - keep the faith.
review by Fungalpunk/OMD (31st March 2014)