FUNGALPUNK GIG REVIEWS
I have been slack on the reviewing front lately so time to catch up on a gig or two is needed. The problem has been that too many bands have been reviewed too many times and I am on the prowl for new meat to assess and hopefully push along. I do my share of noise assistance though but it is always good to keep things fresh as you should bloody well know by now. A midweek gig isn’t ideal for a busy, fagged out Fungal but one must try and if it is a guy who needs a little support now and again then the effort must be all the greater. Dean Diggle has his critics but don't we all but alas he peddles noise and does it in his own way - in truth what more could we ask? When Dean first started re-dabbling in this murky bowl it was more than my pleasure to do a couple of joint gigs with him and release a couple of choice CD's - gotta be done tha' knows. These days this dude is doing alright for himself and has cornered a market and gets a good result on the odd occasion. Of course the odd shite turn-out can knock one back but the bands keep coming, the noise remains varied and so you gotta help the Diggle Train keep chugging. He ain't a bad old bugger really!
Arriving in good time the gaff was near enough empty and it was quite a surprise when the first band appeared out of nowhere and rattled out their produce. Here is how this set, and the following 3 were viewed by my mycological self. I tapped the keyboard and hope many more will start doing the same – come on ya fuckers!
Roughneck Riot are a band I have seen before and came away with more than a smile on my face. What a delightfully effective band with oodles of Irish overtones and an abundance of kick-arse inflection! Following on from the 'live' viewing came a request to assess the bands debut album. This left me somewhat frustrated as the CD didn't do the band justice so despite my review I made it my business to tell people this was still a great band worthy of their time. Don't get me wrong the album is fine but I expected something outrageously good and I felt as though I didn't get it! Anyway tonight my sonic jowls salivated in anticipation of this fine band but when arriving at an almost empty gaff at the proposed start time I wondered if they were indeed playing at all. A wander to the bar for an overpriced ale and in the blinking of an eye the crew were up and at it and producing their zested noise to a paltry audience. Nonetheless this was a grand affair and a full flourish was blasted forth with belief, clarity and precocious talent. Sweat was sought and found, strings were twanged and strong gob work was added. For me the banjo and mandolin are the obvious flavoursome aspects but this crew work as a unit and thrive as a unit. Thoroughly enjoyable and the lowly crowd didn't reflect what this band deserve. As always you should make the effort to watch all bands - alas having a door guy telling people the show doesn't start until 8.30pm doesn't help when the first band is on at 7.45pm - communication hey!
The Exposed next and here is a unit that very much look the part and indeed sound the part - so what the hell was missing? For me there is still a small entity to be grasped to make this the complete package and although the band cracked out a fully laden sound with plenty of good riffology and general tuneage I feel there is some small equation that needs adding to the overall formula just to give this outpouring the final 'win' factor. Powerful, Clash-esque with many US influences the band play it hard, rock it well and are tidily effective in their own way. The more I watched I wondered if the lacking element may not be missing at all and it is just a case of unfamiliarity on my part - it does happen tha' knows. I liked what I heard though but need another viewing to assess more clearly and more fairly so rather than waffle on I'll bail out now!
Moral Dilemma are a band I am familiar with and are a trio who can certainly hammer out a good noise. Very much an acquired taste this and I can see some people tagging as 'just a racket' and understand where they are coming from. Punters who are more prone to a thrashed up din fest will disagree though and why shouldn't they? This is a harsh, powerful mix of boom bang drums and accurately speeded up string work that hits home with a vengeance. One aspect of this performance though is the incredibly articulate and splendidly skilful bass manipulation that takes place with seemingly little effort. The lass in control of the 4 strung weapon plays away with complete conviction, cold studious attention and startling precision and rather than take a short cut to create a rhythm this young lady finds her own intricate route and fuckin' nails it. The foundations lain by this musician must be fantastic for the other players to work with and the end concoction certainly does show the benefits. Bitch and bastard vocals alternate, the guitar is whipped into submission by a heavily perspired frontman and drums are given a seeing to with reliable effect. The end noise is brash and wins fans - what more is there to add? Go forth and check out this three-piece - it may just be of interest to you!
And finally to the Swingin' Utters! Based in San Francisco, with 7 album releases behind them and a whole host of other shit as well as having members well versed in the punk preaching this was surely gonna be a top notch effort. With over 20 years experience and a good fan-base I expected a bigger crowd than the approximately 70 heads in the gaff but such is the sonic fortune and you can only take what you get and deal with. Unperturbed The Swingin' Utters did indeed swing into action and for me, produced a red hot show built on beer, belief, boldness and bang on artistry. Highly wired the string work came threefold and all components complimented and corrupted accordingly. Drums were smashed with care and the dude at the fore looked more than a little up for it. Add to this that vocal duties were shared three-ways by chaps that know the score and we were in for nothing less than a solid, cock-crushing, fanny flattening treat (excuse me I do get excited a little)! As the gobs at the front were rotated the interest was maintained with one screwed up and buzzing, one casual and effective and the main maestro pissed up and passionate. 'Fifteenth and T' shone bright and was totally enjoyed by your promoter for the night Mr Diggle who sang along with relish in his eyes and pleasure in his soul. The set thrilled throughout and as the last few songs came I had to leave so as to get my pre-arranged lift. My loss but the 50 minutes I had witnessed of these Fat Wrecked Fuckers was pure fuckin' magic.
So a good gig, a sweet variety and plenty to ponder. Dean has many more classics to come so check em' out, feedback, do a review and support. With these gigs and Stu Taylor jumping into the fray again next year Manchester has never had it so good - think on and try and do your bit however small. We all have outside lives but as long as we try and keep this noise moving we will all benefit in the long run - yeah aaaaah!
review by Fungalunk Dave (8 September 2011)