THE SAS TOUR
BRADFORD, THE ZUU BAR - 16th April 2011
Tonight was, after checking records, my 31st gig in Bradford and of that I am very proud. I don't even live in the city and it is a bit of a bugger to find any venue I work with there but alas I still find myself drawn back to this welcoming place. Ok some gigs have been more than a struggle but some have gone marvellously well and on the whole this old urban pit has been kind to old Fungal and I have many, many good memories of the noise and people there. Lately however the scene seems a little fractured and the last gig I did there was one of the worst turn-outs ever. Tonight I headed back to my recent venue and hoped things would turn upwards as regards attendance but realised as always you get what you get in this scene and when peddling the underdog it ain't usually a lot. After finding out The cockney Rejects played Bradford the night before and even though charging £18 on the door they still pulled 150 punters my hopes regarding a good night plummeted a little more. And before you ask - The Rejects gig isn't an example of punk rock whatsoever and is just a trip down memory lane with no relevance today. Hey that's my opinion and you are welcome to it - punk is about moving forward and despite many telling me they agree I see a whole heap of people who just don't cut the talk.
So after a busy day we eventually set off through sunny roads that were remarkably empty. More than likely people were at home watching the two sets of overpaid wankers from Manchester kick a ball around - now there's something else that ain't punk! Arriving in healthy time and finding a quick parking spot we three Fungaleers hit the venue and pottered about until bands arrived. All did in due course, unlike any paying punters, and the show as they say 'got rolling'.
Firing Blanks are a crew I have been intending to give a gig to for a goodly while and was highly delighted to have done so tonight. Prior to the gig a good attitude had been shown and having reviewed stuff from these I was keen to see what tonight would bring. Starting in reggae fashion and then bursting forward the immediate thoughts were of a fresh, upbeat and living sound that was obviously going to get better has the band found more comfort on stage. I wasn't wrong - the opening was solid but the set got better with some sweet skank segments as well as some lofty power inclusions that displayed what a 3 piece can achieved if their ears are clued in. 'Choke' and 'No' came across as memorable songs with the Lars Frederiksen/Billy Bragg cover 'To Have And To Have Not' doing expected business. Even though I am not a cover song admirer I always say bands should have one in their set just to throw in and attract the more nostalgic doubters out there and this was a fine example of my argument. Tasty with their own inflection the crowd’s interest was moved to another level and so the band made a greater impression and hopefully will have a few more people checking them out after the gig. Despite a few guitar glitches the whole performance pleased me and I am more than happy to prod and poke the FB machine in the right direction.
Kerplunk are similar to the previous band insomuch that I desperately wanted to give them a show after much eavesdropping to their stuff and having the pleasure of the odd review. The set tonight was forceful and stampeding in parts but a melody was held on to and sustained throughout which made the final impression a good one. Technically adept and mixing several sub-styles the consistent high energy, youthful hunger and determined approach made the grade and as a result the songs triumphed. 'And The World Unites' was a good moment with its blustery stomping and swaying and built in structure. The bass man seizured to the sonica, the drums held firm and the lass on the 6 stringed sword played neatly thus making a good song shine from a darn rocking set. 2 bands down and 2 more results for the show.
Just as a pointer - both bands above have releases to their name which I have reviewed on this site. The CD's are worth picking up but after tonight's showing I reckon we are in for a whole lot better in the near future. It is good to tag along behind a band on the upward curve and it looks like it’s a double case of 'here we go again' - yeah I am happy.
Still stuck on the door (bah) and swilling my fizzy water (very nice and cheers to the gaff for the free drinks) still the entrants were thin on the ground and yet Total Confusion hit the stage and thumped out a set I was lapping up by the minute. There has been a song I have been drooling over for ages entitled 'Chaos 200AD' that was created and recorded by the band in question. The buggers jumped on stage tonight and opened with this and man what a fuckin' start! This is the best song I have seen 'live' so far this year and the few hairs left on me worried head rose with punk passion as I was drowned in this awesome sound. Pure punkage bouncing all over my sonic erogenous zones and having my spirits raised tenfold this was a massive moment to savour and I am so glad I picked this as Song of the Month back in December. Moving on the band continued to hit hard with the 'fuck you' factor very much apparent and an approachable edge almost tangible. Unpretentious punk filled with strong riffage this is a band I'd like to see do more and why shouldn't they? Visceral and intense let's hear it for Total Confusion and even a few covers were thrown in for good measure with 'Warhead' not as impressive as 'I'm An Upstart' despite me being a UK Subs fan. No complaints though and the few who were in attendance I am sure agreed. Class!
I have seen Born To Destruct a few times now but never in this state. With a new Moose loose, and a young lass absent it was Woodstock at the helm providing string and vocal duties. I liked the band as they were but can't help admitting I prefer this new layout. Fatter, firmer (ok I exaggerate – flabbier) and with more 'in yer face' noise this made a greater immediate impact and had me admiring from the back. Woodstock certainly rattles his vocal chords and was backed by 3 steady players who are gaining in confidence all the time. New dude Moose Man looked very settled and like a dog with two dicks seemed to enjoy the whole set. 'Bollox' swung low and hard with choice inflection and 'Nothing' rung true and ached with effective bitterness and restless rage. The people in the band are quality, the noise they make very much the same and still they struggle on - very much an Underdog tale I hear too often. 20 paying punters watched them in Norwich, 18 paying punters tonight - yet if they supported Rancid or the like for £20 on the door a few more may take note - totally and utterly ridiculous - your idea of punk is very much dead! Loved it and wanna do it again – preferably to a rammed room – hey ho. Full points to the bassist and drummer tonight who really are settled in to their roles – although I reckon the bassist needs check out ‘ShortsRus’ and get some that suit his legs ha, ha. Lovely people nonetheless!
Still the floodgates of attention remained closed – aaaggghhhh!
Senseless are anything but and know their punk onions inside out which was proven yet again tonight. Articulate, ready to fire off the big shots at any time and with a whole host of gritted and well fitted songs this trio serve up a good noisy nosh that many more should be gluttoning on. The frontman is a feisty artiste who gets on with the job with gusto, enthusiasm and focus. He loves what he does and if you are in the groove that will be enough but his fellow merry makers also input their own level of energy and racket and so we see a three cornered entity thriving with passion. 'Harry Is A Bastard' sticks out for obvious reasons but the band lack fillers and that failure is nothing more than a complete positive. Good all round decent riffage for me and very much value for money band you should check out.
Buses and trains took their captives and we were left with the sturdy few for the headlining SewerSuckers. This band provided the backline tonight without complaint and expected little in return. The set they produced was hindered by a faulty tuned out bass rig and slightly derailed by a tuned in bassist. No bother to me either way to be honest as it is punk and we all like a drink now and again. What I saw outside of these minor niggles was powerful, deliberate and fuckin' fine fare. The frontman is a concrete performer and sticks at his set agenda with attention and pours forth some excellent string work as well as some frosted and hurtful vocals. I real like the dudes style of delivery and when backed by his fellow twangers and drum slapping fellow the mix was highly enthralling. Although in parts things slightly boiled out of the pan the potential here is fuckin' enormous and I reckon the band have many a classic up their sleeve. This was my first viewing of this lot and the fact that I had them headlining proves how the punk process should go - no rules, no preferences - just go with your instincts. They held the slot ideally tonight and I for one am a fan. My radar is set to Suck a Sewer and these guys are to blame - cheers ya bastards.
So quick goodbyes, the backdrop ripped down for one last time in Bradford and off we went pleased with the players, disgusted with the scene and £70 lighter. Like I say if I was a millionaire the Underdogs would have their day and I'd turn this fuckin' scene on its head. But alas without the funds and with too many opinions that don't sit well with the fakers I am set for a struggle and so the time as come to recharge my batteries. The scene sucks and that is self inflicted but many fine bands out there are being sold short and they do need to stick it together and overturn the thinking. It isn't just about gigs - it's about reviewing, encouraging, creating, being honest and trying ones best - and if you don't agree with that then fuck right off and keep away from any of my future gigs because you just ain't welcome.
By the way - the feedback was of another great show - what else would you expect - like I say the cream at the bottom needs to rise - give it a fuckin' chance will ya!
Review by Fungalpunk/OMD