THE SAS TOUR
HALIFAX, THE SHAY - 26th April 2008
A long day was started at 10.30am where I met up with Tim 'Punk4Life' Davies on Manchester Victoria train station where we awaited the 10.54am to Halifax with beer cans in hand. Having to get off at some forgetful shithole so as to relieve the old bladders we re-boarded and got to Halifax at 12.30pm with 10 cans downed in the 1 and a half hours interim. A warm day and a big thirst to quench we called in at The Shay and sunk another 2 swift pints and chatted with landlord Barry and various Stevenage Borough fans. The SAS and Fungalpunk backdrops were put up and off we went to another gaff for some ale and to watch the United/Chelsea match. 2 more sherberts and a chat with some old geezers about footy and racing and we watched the blues sink the reds in fine style.
Next port of call was the local chippy and the guy serving looked on in disgust as I devoured fish and peas then ordered fish, chips and peas which I duly finished too. Tim seemed to struggle with his which was a surprise but the sloshing of ale in his belly I am sure didn't help matters.
Back to The Shay and a few faces were in attendance as well as a few bands. 3 more pre-gig pints and a pint of coke and things were ready to go as soon as the first two bands arrived.
A middling crowd really and it was The Grebs who kicked off this SAS (SLIT AND SAWDUST) Halifax 7 bander.
A noisy bunch who had impressed me on their split CD with The Diehards this wasn't half bad but I think the early sound didn't compliment them as well as if they would have played higher up the bill. Just one of those 'tweak and twang' problems the first bands occasionally get tainted by. I still think they went down well and they did a fair old set but there is a lot more potential here and on this occasion the opportunity was missed to tap it to the full.
Next came The Diehards and the fact that this set had more clout than the opening outfit was primarily due to the PA finding it's accoustic feet and the front guy putting in a less than static performance. Again another band who impressed me on CD and this was not bad at all. A good fiery sound was thrashed out and the band held the stage well and seemed to please the attending punters no end.
These two bands are worth another shot at sometime and I think would be best seperated by a few bands as their sounds are quite similar. A few skanky/old school bands in between both performances would enhance them even more so I think a slot on a future 3 dayer would be most advisable. Not a bad opening brace by any accounts.
Thirdly came Wild Trash and yet another band to feature punk rock enthusiast Kev Grainger. This lad is a proper good noodle and at last he seems to have a quality outfit working with him and knocking out a really enjoyable set of songs. Very, very melodic and in truth any band Kev is involved with I wouldn't expect anything else. He puts the work in this lad and pings and pogo's like a good un' but this should not detract from the good job the rest of the outfit are doing. Some good covers, a few minor blips and some wonderful original material that I have yet to grow familar with, this set was a pleasure from start to finish. Great attitude, great people and a great style - always welcome. I think they played a song entitled 'Bonnie and Clyde' which stood out but there were an abundance of crackers to savour. Excellento!
Obnoxious UK hit the stage next and this triumvirate of punkers really produced a stormer and with a lot of hard-steel edged tunes I was left mighty impressed by what I witnessed. An entirely new band to me and I always add a new one here and there as it keeps me on my toes and helps me to uncover new talent. This was a real success and the punters lapped it up. A subsequent listen to a CD of this bands has again left a good impression and the forthcoming review on this site should be mostly positive stuff. Well played lads and more in the pipeline.
The final 3 bands were all more than familiar to me and after a couple of cans of Carlsberg and a pint of Fosters plus a trip the the chippy I got back to view their set 3 songs in. All was going marvellously and over the last few viewings it seems MLTF are starting to get a bit of recognition for their well-rehearsed songs and quality delivery. Frontman Paul was up for this and bounced about like a man filled with cheap wine and cigarette ends (in fact that's exactly what he was). This was a good effort indeed and the avalanche of high octane tunes was a delight to behold. The closing track of 'Most Likely To Fail' came too soon for me as I was really enjoying this one. I think the time has come to slip in a bit of recording time now so as to have the opportunity to mix and match a little bit more but none of the songs played tonight should be dropped from what is an accomplished set.
As is per usual for me I have a tendency to double up Most Likely To Fail with Flat Back Four as both bands compliment each other perfectly and the fact that these two outfits stick around and support each other, and the other bands, is a much welcome bonus and promoting necessity. And so FBF followed and although not entirely convinced with the sound Ste (not Steve unless it's Sunday) the frontman eventually agreed to get going. This wasn't bad at all and although I have come to expect a lot from FBF this was still adequate enough. Ste wasn't happy but that is the perfectionist shining through and there is nothing wrong with that. I don't think anyone in the crowd had a gripe with the performance and although not functioning at 100% due to sound hindrances this was still up there in the 80's. 'Jeff's Rock Night' was the high as well as 'Dogs Actually' which has grown on me over the last few hearings. Always good company and a darn fine band tonights minor niggles did little to damage this outfits fine reputation. Good enough for me!
So to the headline act - The Mispelt 2.0 and lucky me was having the good fortune to be the promoter to give them their first gig in this new and exciting format. A sneak preview at a recent SAS whet my appetite just nicely and gave promise to a revitalised band ready to be reckoned with. Boy how right my instincts were!
This was a perfect headliner and the band were really functioning as a quality unit despite this being an embryonic outing. Quality bass lines were escorted with some superb melodic guitar work and a waterfall of rat-a-tat drum work. A talented trio and now with the supremely excellent frontlady this is one of the best bands so far this year that I have had the pleasure of viewing. Despite the emphasis on melody there is a superfluity of attitude here and each song is an individual pleasure. Tonight I was almost knocked of my feet by the metamorphical result of that classic ditty 'Drive It Like You Stole It' - wow! Also a song called 'Superhero' stood out from an array of high class offerings and really did make my night.
Overall a positively excellent evening with again an overspill of talent on show at a free SAS gig. Many a statement is said by the underdog and duly ignored by the critical masses of the punk scene but on evidence like this one must ask how much longer can these bands be ignored.