FUNGALPUNK GIG REVIEWS
Once more back to Moho Live and even though I am becoming a bit of a local here I didn't get any free drinks from behind the bar - bastards ha, ha. Arriving at 6.45pm prompt with neighbours John and Sue it was a little surprise to see a queue forming outside the venue whilst the rain fell from the cold, dark miserable sky - now that's Manc Land. Whilst waiting a few faces joined the line with the bellow of 'OMD' making me turn my head only to see the wonderful man that is Big Daz heading for the gaff also. Not seen my good friend for a while so note was made to have a natter inside as well as with a few other grand 'erberts. In we all filed, greeted by Dean Diggle your friendly and ever-supplying promoter and without further ado a beer was sunk and The Dangerous Aces were up and very much at it!
The DA's I have seen well over a dozen times and have watched them develop from a fledgling shithawk with a tendency to be plucky and wayward (but still very enjoyable) to what is now a good boisterous cockerel that still remains chaotic and under-rehearsed (therein the beauty lies) but now with more 'oooomph' factor and speeded rhythm. The slackened bits have been tucked tightly in to the trousers of tuneage (oooh nasty) and what tonight displayed was the band are an efficient, no-nonsense group at last capturing their potential but not taking things to the realms of pomposity and over self-belief. 4 approachable dudes with ex-Shadowcop Mike now fully employed on bass duties and adding those extra visuals and all-action nerves the rest of the band can do nothing less than feed on. Less drink had gone down the gullets of the inebriates in the band tonight and there again we have another reason why the DA deviants are on the upswing. 'Lock In' is always a marvellous moment and 'Endless Bullshit' is always a tough one to beat but their set was swollen with highs tonight as well as a few songs I wasn't familiar with (crafty bastards). Overall I love the people, love the noise, love the band and the way they do it - unprofessional and nice and natural - is there any other way?
So a good start and the evening was looking brighter already. Next up a band who had been floating around quite a bit on the old grapevine and mainly down to having a face from the past in the band people just can’t help be taken by. Epic Problem are being spoken about as ex-Blitz dude Mackie’s new band which will in truth generate interest but for me gets on my tits and detracts from the noise. Come on people get with it - let’s judge the band neutrally and not be effected by preconceived ideas which also goes some way in disregarding the other contributing dudes. So with unbiased digits this is how I felt about what I witnessed tonight. The set started in a decent way with the obvious influences on show and with power house riffage and high intensity the name of the game. Being a new band on the scene, and of course on my Fungalised radar, it is always hard to fully grasp the full essence of any outfit so individual time was taken to view each player and his role. String wise was very tidy indeed with the 6 and 4 wired noise makers proficient, aiming for some nice well-fed hooks and generally saturating the sonic arena with good racketology. Vocals were nice and fired and complimented the arrangement of the songs sweetly with the drums at the back perhaps the most eye-catching piece of the pie by being nothing more than well groomed, unflustered and most importantly accurately in time. Overall the set buzzed with confidence and in such a short space of time the band look to be pressing all the right buttons. Interest will obviously be high due to the aforementioned name-dropping chances for people but Epic Problem to me are a good band of 4 individuals who know their trade. Next up a listen on CD I reckon for me and then we can truly assess what is going down with the EP brigade.
2 bands down, 2 good fuckin' efforts and so to Flat Back Four, an outfit I have worked with many times in the past and who have done the business (ooops sounds like they've been nobbing the headliners there) each and every time. Tonight the band was in another of its stages with the only regulars in being frontman Steve and stickman Tom. I have seen this unit in its current form once before but struggled to fully get to grips with the outpourings but tonight...well that was really no problem at all. I came, I expected the usual fare and what I got was one of FBF's best performances to date. Loaded with energy, refined, dusted down and delivered with a sharp compactness everyone in the room must have been impressed with these four flat backians came and conquered in superb heart-warming style and just proved to me what a great band I have always deemed them to. The glorious songs came thick and fast with 'Fly The Flag' setting a heady standard and 'If I Die Tonight', ' I Told You I Was Ill', 'I Am One' all following suit straight through to the epic 'Psalm 23'. This was sincerely a pleasure and rather than bang on and on I'll tell ya one thing - the underdog wins big time here - end of!
And lastly we come to The Business. A long standing band of the OI movement and well versed in what they do and what they are about. Far from the original line-up but with top dudes Fish on guitar and Bundie on drums I was far from worried that this would be lacking in any parts whatsoever. It had been about 6 years since I last saw these dudes and so I came expecting the usual din but I'll tell you something - the four fuckers who made up the racket tonight fuckin' ripped it big time. Mickey Fitz is more than just a frontman, he is the veritable foul-mouthed entertainer who the punters love and adore and this puppet master genuinely knows how to be as one with his admiring fans. After the initial tones of 'Happiness' washed away the expectant cobwebs the band appeared and the set they delivered was awash with classics and the crowd responded duly to each and every treat - 'Harry May' was just fuckin' marvellous, 'Smash The Discos' as reliable as ever, 'Get Out Of My House' totally addictive and approachable, 'The Truth, The Whole Truth And Nothing But The Truth' a sub-classic many may overlook, 'Suburban Rebels' sublime, 'National Insurance Blacklist' always a personal favourite and 'Drinkin' and Driving' the ultimate sing-a-long finale. What a fuckin' great do and just proves that many a dog who has been battered and beaten by many an external influence still has plenty of bite to surprise you still. You do know what you get with The Business but even I was guilty of forgetting how good it could be. Long may it continue and if you don't like it then so be it but if you do like it then fuckin' have it by the bucketload.
Another one done and top marks to Dean the promoter and all the bands who contributed to this special evening. It would be good to see The Business back again next year and if they do come around this end my advice would be to 'be there' - one of the best gigs of 2011 for me and I do get around a bit tha' knows. Fantastic!
review by FP/OMD (4 December 2011)