Saturday the 20th May 2006. The first ever Spit and Sawdust gig. Momentous or disastrous - the question awaits an answer!
I was picked up at noon by One Man Stander’s Ant and Jan. We arrived at the Cellar Bar about an hour later with young rascals Crouch Mog already there to bid us welcome. Anyway after much pottering about, a few pints, and a bottle of QC the first band indoors, namely The Bobby Dazzlers were up and ripped out a swift and skilful set. Consistently paced and well balanced this was as impressive as I was informed it would be and set off the day well. The rain outside persisted and was really getting my back up as was the slow build up of the crowd. Ridiculous really but me and Andy had a lot riding on this and couldn’t wait for the show to reach a much sought after high.
Anyway the Slash Monkeys rattled off a great set and once again displayed an improvement that is excellent to see. Tuneful and confident with the right mixture of control and aggression this left me wanting more but fulfilled my expectations of a promising band. Great stuff indeed.
More beer and the rain still fucking about the Moggymen hit the outdoor stage to be held up by the said climactic conditions and the piss poor sound. Eventually things were corrected and the lads swung into action with the timely clearance of the clouds quite welcome. Hard edged yet melodic in the extreme this was yet another triumph on the Crouch Mog CV with their official opening of the tour being well delivered. ‘Buddha’, ‘Spit’ and ‘Ordinary Life’ were classic nuggets that stood out and reflected a youthful enthusiasm and craftsmanship I for one admire. Cheers lads.
With drink kicking in and 2 more bottles of QC purchased, half of which was immediately caned things became a trifle hazy but the second half of One Man Stand's set was very good indeed. The climax of ‘Nation on Fire’ was a perfectly timed peach and as always highlighted what a great band OMS are. A pleasure!
Talking of Pleasures, the Guilty ones were up next and despite having to put up with a less than convincing sound still played a belter and proved their value to the tour. Energetic and with a punk noise that belies their youth this was again a great performance. ‘Braindead Politician’ and ‘Stand Up And Stop The Fighting’ were excellent moments in an all round superb outing. Thanks lads.
A few chats and a few cans of Carlsberg it was indoors for Middle Finger Salute. This was brilliant to say the least and really rattled along with incredible ease. A definite must for next year’s tour, these young rebels should be a real force to be reckoned with by then and will surely be making waves throughout punk. Now smashed I staggered outside to try and watch Kamikaze Sperm. It looked and sounded good but to be honest I was struggling to stay upright and was distracted by many a fine person chatting to me.
A sit down and a litre of orange juice, plus 2 meat and potato pies swiftly followed by a bottle of coke and the head began to clear. Now where’s that other bottle of QC.
Anyway Suspicious Stains were soon up and despite problems with their underwear (they know what I mean) they dished out a most delightful set. This lot have worked hard to get where they are and songs like ‘ASBO’, and ‘Rockstar’ will certainly help them further along the line. Great people knocking out great tunes with great passion and sincerity this was a classic and maintained a days momentum that even me and Andy were gobsmacked at.
The crowd were here now and people were really getting into the swing of things with ‘Boredom’ banging out a consistent performance of which I saw sweet FA. When pissed time flies and after what seemed a brief excursion indoors I missed the whole bloody set. What on earth was I doing?
Next up ‘The Day Man Lost’. Wow. Sheer fuckin’ quality here with a rapid aural attack of unrelenting brutality that brought the crowd to life. Each and every song was fervently blasted forth with amazing belief and tightness. Even Bassman Kev who later confessed to having downed 10 pints before hitting the stage produced a blinder. The crowd loved it and the encore spoke for itself. Great set of lads making a racket they love. How can you fault that? Punk at its rawest best.
Next the quality of AFS was apparent as these 4 poetic ‘erberts did the stuff with ease and pleasure. Comedic, tuneful and very fuckin’ entertaining the highlight was ‘Guns for Oil’ in a set that didn’t have one dud number. I’ve never seen a bad un’ from these fellars yet and that says it all. Live or on CD its class all the way that will surely carry these guys into a bright and heady future. Excellent.
Finally the mighty Churchill. Could they be worthy of this headline slot after the late withdrawal of Lowlife UK? Answer - oh yes. This was a belter and all the old classics (already) were thumped out one after another with established authority. The crowd loved it, the band loved it and it capped a great day of which me and Andy were proud to be a part of.
The people in attendance, the bands, top man Alex (the compere) and even the great British weather were all responsible for a fantastic day and a tremendous start to the SAS Tour of 2006. Myself and Andy’s reservations and initial worries were washed away in a raging river of belief and support and for everyone involved - THANKS.
The show now moves on to Lancaster where a recording is taking place for a forthcoming live album. It would be great to have another cracker but the worries start again - hey ho - here’s to a good un.
Oh by the way ,that was my first and last bender on the tour, a little treat I had in store for myself after many months of hard work and stress. So if you turn up at a future SAS tour and ask ‘where’s the pissed up twat’ I’ll point you in the direction of Andy because it’s his well deserved turn next.