It was a quiet summer Saturday afternoon, the 1st of August 2009 (Yorkshire Day). We turned up at around 4pm to ready the venue for the evening. Mick Dunn, Stevie Ward and myself were wearing two hats that day, namely the venue landlord, sound engineer and promoter respectively and also members of our band "Suicide By Cop". The gig was one of Fungalpunk Dave's Spit and Sawdust events and he had offered us a slot on the bill. SBC were the only band on the bill that lived within 200-300 miles of the venue, which is not unusual for one of Dave's gigs. Anyway, we set the venue up, had a quick practice and awaited the arrival of the rest of the bands. Dave was sadly unable to get across for this one due to car trouble but we knew the arrangements were in safe hands. "The Hijacks" arrived around 6, all the way from Aberdeen and they stepped up for a quick sound check. Musically, they were fairly punky ska with some pretty screechy vocals and we could tell that their set was going to be enjoyable. We waited around for a while, whilst Mick spun some tunes DJing, nervously wondering where the other two bands were. Time was cracking on and we were wondering if they were going to turn up or not. Anyway, at what seemed like the eleventh hour, a minibus turned up containing a Nuneaton band called "None Of Your Fucking Business" and a band all the way from sunny Spain called "Von Danikens". After the introductions and final details of sets etc, The Hijacks took to the stage.
The audience size was comparable to the last Mannville Fungalpunk gig (an fair to average turnout for the place), which was a reasonable achievement considering the time of year, what with a lot of the local punks saving themselves for Rebellion the week after. More importantly though, they were attentive and enjoying the tunes. I think most people in the house were at least tapping a foot along to the bouncy sounds of The Hijacks. Kenny Armitage and Mick Barrett from Threshold Shift were throwing themselves around on the dance floor lapping up every minute and as usual showing their full support for the scene. Various merch was purchased by the pub staff and a CD obtained for inclusion on the jukebox and we all agreed that we would like to see them return to the Mannville in the future for a headlining slot. Great band, with a great attitude. Nice one Dave.
We were next up (Suicide By Cop) for what was only our 4th gig. Of course I would be biased by reviewing my own band but I think we put on a reasonably strong performance and we got some good feedback afterwards. Most of us have played in bands before so we have been around the block a few times but Kaz is a relative newcomer to the world of bands, although she has done various singing in shows and karaoke type performances before. Consequently, she is still a little stage shy but she did deliver a strong performance, singing the songs. Most of our songs are fairly upbeat and bouncy with the exception of the ballad (for want of a better expression) "Divide and Conquer", which is a favourite of ours to perform but we were unsure of how a slow song would go down in front of a punk audience. Thankfully, punks being punks were open minded and enjoyed it for what it was. It was one of our best gigs yet and we thoroughly enjoyed playing, especially to a bunch of out of town bands and punters.
After a quick pack away and drink, we returned to see None Of Your Fucking Business, who played a kind of ANWL noisy but catchy sort of punk - the sort of thing I usually enjoy. I must confess to not paying a huge amount of attention at this point as I got chatting and drinking as we finally got chance to relax a bit. My only gripe with this band was their particularly rude attitude to northerners, which was uncalled for and all he succeeded in doing is making himself about as welcome as a fart in an astronaut suit. Some might argue that it's a punk thing to piss people off (I am in the "being nice to each other" corner myself) but this guy couldn't carry it off and just made himself look like an idiot. He was lucky that he didn't come a cropper with someone that night but in the spirit of things, people didn't really want to sink to his level. Attitude aside, they were a pretty good band and on music merit alone, I would have them on again but the attitude let them down. Speaking with the singer afterwards though, he seemed alright off stage and was appreciative of the chance to play. It is a shame that the attitude will be what they are remembered for here and not their music.
After a considerable gap between bands where local punk/Rockabilly DJ Paul Goodison spun a set, the music went quiet and what looked like the most drunken man in the world approached the stage. It looked like it was all going to go pear shaped as the rest of Von Danikens set their gear up in a time consuming fashion. All of a sudden from out of nowhere, we were treated to a blistering set of really well crafted and executed melodic punk. It was worth the wait and I think everybody was unanimously impressed. It was a rare opportunity to have a band on all the way from Spain and one which we would very much welcome again. Dave, you surpassed yourself on this one our kid. I just wished you could have been there to witness it!
All in all, a brilliant night. The contribution to punk made by people like Dave and Leon Punkined can't be understated and I sorely wish that more people would turn out for their gigs. Punk is very much NOT dead and it is great to be a part of it!