This looked, on paper, one of the best TNS gigs in a long time and I was really up for this 5 band special. News of First Time Riots withdrawal beforehand slightly took the edge off for me as I love this band and needed an FTR fix. Shit happens though and with no bassist you can't blame this reliable outfit or TNS. Arriving at the venue early resulted in finding out that Speeding Bee had pulled out on the day due to adverse weather conditions. It seemed we were now down to 3 bands. Fuckin' hell - talk about bad luck for the promoters - but sadly a situation I know only too well.

Couple these pull-outs with the fact that a gig was going on just down the road at the Retro Bar and I felt the lads were really up against it. That's the way the cookie crumbles though and one has to make the best of it! Harsh it seems but fact - shovelling shit is a promoters main job and a tough one at that.

The gig kicked off later than expected and up stepped Johnny Turpentine to help the cause with five songs of enjoyable attitude. A real 'card' this fellar who apparently had been on the 'jars' all day but was still up for helping the cause. Nice touch and the five outpourings were all well delivered with the finale being a made up band of Just Panics drummer and Mike the Shadowcops bassist, along with the said J. Turpentine putting together the classic Exploited number 'Alternative'. My fave Exploited tune this and a nice twist was added to this which worked quite effectively. Good stuff and a great way to bouy the lowly crowd.

Next The Cost of Living, a band who I had reviewed on CD and left me with a feeling of 'could do better' but still a capable outfit. This tonight though came across as a real poor effort most of which was down to a totally abysmal PA that sounded like it was picked up off a car boot sale on the day of the gig. Totally incoherent in parts with the bands style failing to shine through. A thorough review would be unfair and another viewing is needed to properly assess.

Following on came Just Panic, a band who thrive on melody and who were truly punished tonight by the crap PA and subsequent sound as well as a few electrical problems with equipment. Again what would be the point of going into dissecting detail when it was more than apparent that the whole set was marred by extraneous circumstance. A real let down but there you go. Poor Bev of TNS looked bewildered by the nights niggles but said optimistically that 'it's better to get all the bad luck out of the way in one go'. Ha, ha - great positive stuff - good lad.

Finally The Shadowcops. Best band of the night (again) but on this 13th viewing for me (ooooooh - ghostly inflection needed) this was not good enough. Reason! You guessed - shite sound! The Cops played great and the new tunes were promising much but the blighted accoustics marred the whole effort. After two weeks on tour they deserved better and for a band of this calibre it was really hard to watch them soldier on. This was still ok and many a punter would accept this - but not this fernickity fucker. One of the best bands on the scene at the mo and destined for a superb future and I guess unlucky 13 for me here.

Overall a poor do but nobodies fault and one of those hiccups many a peddalr of punk will be all too familar with. Not a great turn-out but better than 4ft Fingers pulled down the road (about 15 I heard). On to the next one and chin up to the TNS brigade.

review by OMD (10 April 2008)