A planned early leaving for me tonight due to basic tiredness because of recent mycological commitments and general busy day to day stresses. I have literally been all over the place lately and being a busy family man and leading fungal forays has left time at a minimum and thus bloody knackered out this old bugger. Even so I thought tonights TNS gig would be a struggle so as usual made the effort to support the cause. In fact the turn-out transpired to be not so bad but the prospect of seeing 3 new bands was worthy of attendance anyway.
I arrived near enough on the dot and only missed the first minute of the opening act who were called Mr International and the Getaway Gang. I'd previously only heard one track by this crew which was amusingly entitled 'Binge Drinker' from the recent TNS compilation CD that has done the rounds to say the least. This wasn't brilliant but wasn't as bad as rumour had it. Apparently their last outing in these parts was utter shite and so after my informant had passed on these comments I wasn't expecting much. Vocally it has promise and the music is individually ok but the main problem with this outfit is a lack of general cohesiveness that slips in almost unnoticed and leaves you wondering where each track went wrong. Plenty of decent moments were marred by the more blatant shoddy snippets and that is a shame but I guess this is the fall-out of under rehearsals. More attention to detail, more time in the practice room and perhaps a re-arrangement of a few trickier moments will help the cause but this still wasn't an all out disaster. The one song I was familiar with as previously mentioned was far from professionally executed and at times seemed a completely different ditty. Work to be done methinks!
Discussions with TNS Bev (thanks for the CD's fellar) and Dean Diggle (thanks for the CD's fellar) and then those incredibly disjointed degenerates of the Manchester scene the Dangerous Aces arsed about and into action with a usual showing of tomfoolery, blistering sonics and wayward focus that again delighted although I am sure shouldn't have. These four farts of fuckology should be taken as you find them and accepted as a purely no frills 'oh fuck it lets have a go' outfit who just get up and do it. Their biggest asset is that they are the four most agreeable 'erberts you could meet and are a real breath of fresh air to a scene that is always willing to welcome darn good company like this crew. Tonight the sound wasn't at it's best but the DA's got on with it and battered out a turbulent set full of raucous expulsions and disjointed sonics. What they do they do sincerely and I do have a soft spot for this outfit. A variety of pace helps matters and 'Seems To Me' shone and another adequate outing was had. Good or bad you decide but you'll get no complaints from this one. They have a couple of dudes always watching them who dance merrily to the Aces aggression and more often than not they pull a few others too. A recording is way, way overdue and I am personally not holding my breath but one thing you can guarantee is that when it is finally released it will be as rough as fuck, totally unprofessional and 100% as real as you want it - and that is all the fungal one asks.
And so with the temperatures rising and the crack of my arse swiftly becoming a seaside log flume (well almost) Litterbug got up and sent out a rumbling message that was delivered with conviction and in most parts accomplished execution. I say most parts as there were one or two moments that seem a little unconvincing but overall this had a fair clout and the guys who hammered it out seemed well versed in musical know how. I wouldn't class this lot as a straight all out punk band but the entire TNS showcases are usually of this ilk and so you get a broad flavour of sounds which sometimes can please a fussy punk stained twat like me or sometimes disappoint - that's music though and it's better to throw in many spices than continue with just the same bland theme. I'd need a couple more viewings to thoroughly assess but on this viewing I don't think I'd be unimpressed.
Next A War Against Sound with musical whore Andy Dazzler on drums. After reviewing a recent CD this lot left me wondering what on earth a 'live' viewing would be like. The sound generated from the CD was very diverse with an experimental sort of edge that promised confusion or success. Technically this was the best of the night with the bassist an accomplised player to say the least. The finger work on the neck of the old 4-string throbber was really eye-catching and the fact that he was backed up by 3 other very capable musicians helped this whole performance to succeed. Journeys into light skank, power riffage country and alternating booms were well blended and although it is apparent this will not be everyones selected tipple this will still be worth checking as it has many a moment to please a varied crowd. It didn't plod on for too long either which was a vital ingredient tonight as the whole sonic offering has a lot to take in and if the set was increased in length it may take the edge of the concise package that was perfectly timed to make an impact. Again more viewings are needed and again a lot is expected.
Well 10.30 was hit and with 4 bands under the belt I left the gaff to get my left home. I sold a few Fungalskapunk CD's on the night which is good and overall enjoyed what I had witnessed. Apologies to Harijan (again) for missing them but I am sure they did OK as they really are the finished article as far as the skank scene is concerned. A shame DBD weren't headling this one as they would have gone down a storm but there ya go and hopefully Harijan can spread those wings and get further afield next year.
A fair do and not a bad turn-out with A War Against Sound the pick of the crop. The Retro Bar is thriving at the moment and although it ain't my favourite venue it is worth popping down to support these events and check out some new bands as well as one or two old faves. The next one is from Dean Diggle of Slit Records and should be a real entertaining affair with a host of good bands the pick of which should be Mispelt 2.0. Challenge set and see you all there unless the mushroom walks go on for too long.
review by OMD (6 October 2008)