THE SAS TOUR
STOCKPORT, THE THATCHED HOUSE - 3 DAY BASH - 11th Apr - 13 Apr 2008
The emotional roller coaster of organising the SAS is one much commented on both negatively and positively. The 30 band specials I attempt to squeeze in, and naively try to pull off without the use of allegedly big names is equally remarked upon, but in this instance the utterances all seem to pertain to ‘madness’. With a sleepless night and a busy days work under my belt I arrived at the Thatched House in Stockport at 4pm complete with CD’s for sale (gotta balance them books), cumbersome backdrop, flyers (as if this gig ain’t enough), liquid refreshments (Carlsberg, Vimto and Water), 2 Ham Barm Cakes, a Mars bar, wristbands, running orders, a hammer (for putting up aforementioned backdrop - but you never know) and a half eaten bag of Jelly Babies (lovely stuff and a vital sugar booster). With a bit of ingenious metal bending the large SAS backdrop was easily put up and the small Fungalpunk sheet was no problem at all. Landlord Banjo and friend fucked off, landlady Lisa went upstairs and I passed an hour snoozing and playing pool with myself (I even lost – fuck it).
Banjo reappeared as did sound guy Steve and gear was set up and the first faces started appearing. A slow trickle but in truth I wasn’t expecting much. Thanks to the brilliant foresight of other promoters I was really up against some stiff competition this weekend, the biggest opposing force of all being tomorrows City Invasion. Again I say – why can’t the scene work together? For me it is totally frustrating and baffling to say the least but big fish in little ponds is an occurrence in all walks of life. Now you may say my crazed mind was playing tricks at this point but I was still of a belief that despite all the gigs going on this weekend the place to be at for top music, top company and to experience some real approachable, unaffected punk rock would be The Thatched House in Stockport. I know this place inside out and it is a choice venue when the vibes are right and some good bands are playing well, and the next 3 days promised a classic. The expected low crowd was a real sore point for me because as a promoter the priority is getting bands seen as well as making new contacts and having a good time. Well if the fuckers don’t turn up I am sure all involved will enjoy it – I bloody well hope so.
At 6.15 prompt the gig decisively didn’t kick off! Reason? The Sounds of Swami were running late. These scatter brained buggers are a right bunch and cause me no end of worry with their sketchy time-keeping and disastrous diary scheduling. They had informed me this week that they thought they were playing on a Friday despite being listed on my site for a few months as playing on the Sunday. So the opener on Friday was arranged which they duly took (great spirit there so take note egotists) and the 6 band squeeze was now a 7 band squash. 15 minutes late the young rapscallions arrived and with no fuss commenced to set up and get on with the job at hand.
And the revieweth starts…
The wait had added to my worries but believe me, as per usual, it had been worth it. I really do think Sounds of Swami are getting better with every viewing and this was their fourth gig for me and, honestly and truthfully, the best yet. Really too good for an opening slot but all bands who play the SAS have to do their bit and these guys did it without complaint. For a young bunch their attitude is very much appreciated and the hard, edgy sound they dish out is truly enjoyable. The stage performance is committed and totally convincing and one of the pleasures of watching the SOS lads is that they are clearly having a good time and happy in each others company. They are one of those bands you hope never give up their musical talents and throughout their lives will always be involved with the scene as playing artists, preferably in the same format as I see them tonight. Brilliant! Best songs – hey all good but the most notable one is the one I can never remember the name of so make up your own mind. What better way to start the 3 days. Cheers lads and the calendar and Rolex watch is in the post!
The crowd swelled a little more and The Guilty Pleasures hit the stage and were received mighty finely by the heads in the gaff so far. I have always enjoyed this band and during numerous line-up changes and through times of misdirection I feel they have still to fulfil their true potential. Now they play as a 3-piece and it hasn’t affected the sound one bit, in fact they are now a more fully functioning outfit and seem a lot more focussed. James is a great frontman and guitarist Johan has come on leaps and bounds and instead of creating an image now seems happy to be himself and get on with the job. With a solid drummer at the back it looks as though the GP’s are finally coming together but they need to get some new stuff recorded and set about doing some serious gigging in all areas. News of them being kicked off tomorrow nights City Invasion along with the aftershow party didn’t depress me one bit as the street scene is the GP’s hunting ground and the place they should set about thriving in before reaching out to compete on the big stage. A very good set and one on which to build. As always ‘Stand Up And Stop The Fighting’ was most notable along with a few newer tracks which have a fair buzz about them. Expected and given – good stuff!
A few more heads in – ooooh – looking promising and the Redneck Zombies flew into undead action with a cavalcade of corpse awakening songs that would wake the most reticent of crowds. This 3-piece outfit play gigs almost exclusively for the SAS/Fungalpunk Tour (lucky bastard me eh) due to the members other commitments with other bands, namely The Business and Helsinki 7. This maybe the 4th gig I have had the good fortune to put them on and as usual it was a stormer. Frontman Bundie plays the crowd to a tee and his insulting banter is never taken the wrong way partly due to the fact that he has a winning smile and is a bit of a fuckin’ charmer (you won’t bed me you twat ha, ha)! He is a real top bloke too but this shouldn’t detract from his two allies who are great guys and really effective musicians. It is a winning trio and despite constant queries about CD’s and merchandise nothing ever comes of it. There are some brilliant songs in the set and every time I think ‘make mental note of that songs title’ I totally forget within days. A CD would obviously help to rubber stamp these dittys onto the frazzled punk minds and more gigs would be most welcome. Overall a fuckin’ excellent crowd pleasing do and apparently I will be flogging some CD’s for them real soon – get your wallets and purses ready. Also I was given a Redneck Zombies T-shirt and one was given away halfway through the set so things are looking up. My T-shirt will be worn with pride and hopefully the Fungal One and the Zombie crew can get some more shit together real soon.
The Scabs for me are always class and although what the more cynical critiques may call a bog standard band I feel the simplistic brand of argy bargy punk rock this 4-piece dish out is fully justifiable and highly creditable. Steve is a top frontman and an off the stage mate of mine and leads this outfit with fiery, emboldened passion kicking off tonight with hammer in hand, intent on a rip roaring set. It was maintained throughout and his colleagues provided a solid backdrop for him to blaze a mighty vocal trail. Every song for me is as good as the next and I have yet to see The Scabs and come away disappointed. The true cream tonight came in the form ‘Police Brutality’ and the rock hard ‘Bastard’. Not everyone’s flavour but for hardened long-term punkers a definite must.
And so onto The Kirkz (with a Z – see that, a real unadulterated Z – right on the end – not an S but a bold, strong, righteous Z - you can stick your crummy, insignificant little S – I am now a Z man – K I R K………Z – there you go lads). Now despite being distracted here and there with more arriving punters and bands, plus a few chinwags, I did see enough of the Kirkz (oh yes I am really in the Z groove now) to realise this was a thumping performance that set the place alight. They had in truth the best crowd of the night and really played it for all it was worth and frontman Max is a rejuvenated leader that never once strayed into that mystic land of Bell-Endus! I say this with tongue in cheek but this chirpy chap can occasionally be the said ‘Dicketh Dometh’ but lately has learnt a new found delivery and stays remarkably fun and interactive without becoming phallically idiotic! I have been watching these ‘erbert’s for some time now and at this point in time they are really at their best. Highly recommended viewing and these guys need to fly the local nest and drop the musical eggs in other starved areas. On this evidence I can’t think of anywhere they wouldn’t go down well except for the local nursing home for those of a nervous disposition. ‘State of Emergency’ was the pick from the nights bowl of cherries – ta lads!
With a decent turn-out now and several inebriants staggering around (Tim Davis has been worse folks) the next band got up and at em’. One Man Down are a rough edged outfit who come at you with a distinct hardcore edge grinding out some deliciously meaty tunes awash with puke stained venom and bleary eyed hatred. This was their SAS debut and their commitment and company was highly noted and on this very sole performance I can think of no reason not to offer them more. The set was slightly drink affected with a few loose moments but hey – what’s wrong with a few oils you miserable twats. It didn’t ruin it for me and the whole set was a delight. Yes my lads – let’s get you back for some more.
The Red Eyes are a band I have been anticipating for a long time and after giving my mates Jase and Jordan a sneak preview they were so impressed they got the entire CD collection. Thus to help the gig it was arranged that this fine Scottish outfit could kip over at Jase’s house and play another set tomorrow on the Saturday – nice touch and a wise decision all round. This was a fuckin’ masterclass of clinical excellence with all songs executed in an impressive professional manner with ‘Norah Louise Kuzmah’ and ‘Wake Up Call’ truly memorable. The cover of ‘Tomorrows Girls’ was nailed with ease and highlighted to any doubters what a good outfit we were all witnessing. No need for fuckin’ about or any distracting gimmickry – this was a musical feast to gorge on and I swallowed the lot. The last time I saw frontman Alan he was playing for a band called Hanx back in 1996 at Blackpool – a SLF covers band. I hate covers bands but these were not half bad but nothing compared to this piece of quality. A crackin’ ending to a crackin’ night of faultless punk and the SAS had kicked off (again) in fine style.
Don’t forget most of these bands are picked personally by me after various investigatory procedures as regards attitude and talent and here it all paid dividends. People say I am mad because I don’t use ‘top bands’ to headline. Fuck em’ all – who needs em’ when the underdog is chomping so sharply.
1 day and 7 bands down – 2 days and 24 bands to go – fuckin’ ell. Off to the Chippy with Slit Boy Dean and home to share a few butties.
Dean duely left and I went to bed shattered but happy with proceedings so far. See ya tomorrow.
Up at the crack and quickly sorted and fed then out to Morrisons for 3 large bottles of bronze. I hit The Thatched at 11am and had a snifter with One Man Down and chums who had kipped overnight in the beer garden (remember what I said about commitment). The tent they used failed to keep out the cold and all looked a bit worse for wear. What better way to warm up than with 2 bottles of bronze and a banana each. In fact these crazed buggers decided to dip their bananas in their sherry and eat slowly. Banana Sherry Cocktails – now there’s an idea. I had my banana first and set about nailing a bottle of the old Q after an hour of good chinwagging and much merriment.
With seventy cans at my side I was sure I would last the day without the need to re-stock - hope so!
After the sound was checked and a few bands arrived The Scatter (ex Pirates of Heroes) were welcomed and kicked off the days event at 1.15pm prompt. What a great start it was too and after a previous viewing and a listen of their initial release it was my good luck to bag this lot as the opening act for the day. There is an overflow of talent here ready to burst forth and some of the songs are truly infectious. ‘Long Shot’ and ‘Little Miss One Night Stand’ were the true delights and came from a demo CD that is worth seeking out. More to come for this lot and a damn fine slot next year.
Global Parasite next and straight from ska to hardcore is an example of what the SAS is all about. No fuckin’ restrictions and many flavours giving all in attendance a chance to hear many sub-genres of the ska/punk scene. I love this outfit and over the short period of time they have been around they have improved remarkably. The screaming vocals from guitarist and drummer switch nicely and each and every song is a brutal assault draped in anti-stance attire. ‘Scream At The World’ was the choice today and I hope this band keep on doing just that. Always my pleasure.
New SAS inclusions Smack Rats were a band I was recommended and when they got in touch as usual I gave them a slot. Why not indeed – I find it refreshing to sometimes take a risk and with a 30 band festival it is essential criteria to do just that to make the gig exciting and challenging for all. This one paid off in fine style and really woke the crowd up with some blazing tunes that were fanned by the frenetic, frenzied behaviour of the frontman who screamed in people’s faces, climbed on the bar, grappled people to the floor and spasmodically writhed and wriggled his way through one helluva energetic set. Of course this unhinged frontman was the main focal point of the punters but I sneakily watched the band too and they weren’t half bad. More again will follow for this lot and dependant on whether the frontman keeps his performances from falling into the abyss of ‘plain old annoying’ these should do as well as they did today – which was absolutely fine. Great addition to the day’s proceedings – thanks fellars.
After a few tins of beer and a bottle of Bronze The Red Eyes got up to do part 2 of their SAS spot and again I must take my hat off to this lot for doubling up on the wonderful performances. After last nights excellent outing I was more than a little expectant of today’s set and was not disappointed in the slightest. Truly magnificent and this time I took a long good look at each individual member strut their stuff. All played their part quite wonderfully with the drummer an exceptional artiste quite skilled and highly energetic in giving 110%. Not one bad song and the cover of ‘Situations’ once again showed these guys are no mugs when it comes to nailing a tune. The two performances that The Red Eyes have graced the SAS with are ones I will take great pride in and the fact that all bands were playing blinders proves the stature of this drastically disregarded outfit. The scene should hang its head in shame!
The John Player Specials added a sudden tangent for the crowd and gave a solid performance despite the absence of the trombonist. I must say the brass man was missed but it didn’t stop the remaining trio putting a corking set together with ‘Knockin’ On Wood’, ‘Identification’ and ‘Bad Town Melodies’ the pick. A bag of talent here but a procrastinating, unfocused thread detected and this may hinder some massive progress the JPS machine could make. Maybe I am wrong but I don’t think so and reading this I hope it gives them the kick up the arse they need because they are too good to go to waste and it is always sad to see potential not fully maximised. A real great band this and loads to come if they tap into what they have an abundance of - TALENT!
Break time and a trip to the Off-Licence to get a bronze top up. A bit of green warped time a little but the two bottles of sherry were had and brought safely back to the gigging arena. Before re-entering the fray we were distracted by shouts from the car park just outside the Thatched. Upon turning two heads appeared from behind the bushes with faces split by grins a mile long. Steve and Sharrock from Flat Back Four (who are on Sundays SAS) were duly identified and a quick exchange of drink downed so far was had. Apparently four cans of Breaker, 2 bottles of Merrydown and a bottle of Bronze had been sunk with a whole lot more to come. Nice work indeed and almost guaranteeing them a slot on all future SAS gigs ha, ha. A nice chat with Chris from Gimp Fist was also had and he gave me a hoodie I had been waiting for for the last few months. Really nice gesture as it was free and the vibes on the scene are always good regarding Chris and his band. Can’t wait for tonight’s viewing.
More ale and bronze as the middle day of the SAS is always the official ‘get caned’ day and The Dangerous Aces were up and at it. These guys are one of the newest bands on the scene and are gradually getting it together despite the guitarist’s bouts of insanity and today’s line-up change. This was a decent effort and at last we can see the DA’s on an up-curve that seems set to stay. There were several loose moments but this will never change if guitar maestro Medicine Stu continues with his on-stage fits of mania. The positive thing about this is that the shows are always unpredictable and lively and there are some damn fine tunes tucked away in the set that are just beginning to hatch into prominence and peck at the punters peckers. The band is a hotch-potch of noodles but I like them and that guarantees further SAS exploits as far as I’m concerned.
Skiprat next and the fact that these guys are playing is down to the slight difference in tempo they offer and the fuckin' excellent spirit they displayed last year in supporting loads of bands. The feedback I got last year was totally positive and again this time around the crowd lapped it up and came to me afterwards asking 'Where did you find these guys then?' Always a good sign and Skiprat came and did the business again. With a few drinks in my belly the alcho-fuel was starting to kick in so the second half of the set was indeed sketchy but I remember having no complaints at all about what I saw. The SAS should be moving over their way real soon and methinks a damn fine slot for these guys will be offered. The reggae-esque sounds in certain parts is most welcome and again adds diversity to the days simmering soup.
Inside and a quick change, a long drink and with blazed eyes I watched The Despondents crack out a set that was a heady rock ‘n’ roll punk mix to wake the most sozzled heads. Things were going mighty well today and the raging current of musical talent came flowing with this quality set. ‘Advice’ is straight to the point and a broken guitar string didn’t hinder the set too much with 'California' and 'Schizophrenia' both shining tributes to this bands skill. A nice slant and obviously worth more SAS gigs.
A band I was really anticipating tonight were The Mispelt and they didn’t disappoint. Very tight and with oodles of melody this quality unit breezed through their set with professional ease and ‘Drive It Like You Stole It’ was just fuckin’ awesome. It’s all change in the Mispelt camp with a line-up and name change imminent. A sneak preview was given tonight when the frontlady let rip on a couple of songs and ‘WOW’ what a difference it made. Already impressed I had no idea where further improvements could be made but this bold risk I feel will pay massive rewards and the future is looking mighty rosy for this band. I have them on again in two weeks at Halifax and am looking forward to it no end where I hope the frontgirl does the whole show. A quality band soaked in experience and a must see.
Gimp Fist were another big anticipation for me and I was totally blown away by what I saw. Pure, unadulterated punk rock with a subtlety of tune way ahead of it’s former predecessors in the Oi arena. If ever there was a band that had a gifted touch of class then this is it. Every fuckin’ tune rocked me to the very core and if they weren’t in such great company tonight some poor bands could have had a real roasting. Thankfully the other bands around Gimp Fist performed admirably and it’s a good job they did. What a quality squadron and what an abundance of top notch tunes. ‘War On The Streets, ‘Just Another Country’ and the epic ‘More War Stories’ were massive moments of the night and the finale of ‘Razors In The Night’ and ‘Oi, Oi, Oi’ was immense. Great lads and great musicians knocking out bone-jarring songs oozing melody and spirit – what more does the SAS have to offer.
Due to a ceremonial opening for the last bottle of bronze of the day, including a photo-shoot, I missed the first couple of tracks by Most Likely To Fail. However when I did enter the venue on unsteady legs I did witness a very good outburst indeed. MLTF seemed to have the crowd’s attention and were knocking out one of their best sets to date. ‘Weekend Rebel’ was a peach and ‘Most Likely To Fail’ was brilliant. A real sensation of satisfaction came over me at this point as this was a band I had put a fair amount of time and effort into and it was nice to see them getting a just deserved reception. I gazed on filled with pride as the lads revelled in the appreciative atmosphere. A nice part of the day and one to savour.
Due to a late pull out of the arranged headline band it fell to Dangers Close to close the second day’s proceedings. I had no worries for them and when they hit the stage and burst into ‘Burn’ I knew no problems would be encountered. A fine band led by a wonderfully striking frontlady who looked and sounded quite magnificent. I couldn’t have asked for a better finale and the quavering vocals were almost hypnotic at times as they thrived on the great tunes being fed by the accomplished musicians behind. ‘Daily Grind’ and the enormously emotive ‘Christina’ were fuckin’ brilliant as were each and every track. Can’t fault them really and again everything I expected came to fruition with this outing. Hopefully the eye-candy appeal didn’t detract from a superb set and true judgements were made and not distorted by beer sodden hormones. Either way I suspect they will only get positive feedback.
Tired and hungry the day ended and afterwards 4 of us went back to my place for a cup of cha and a natter. Dean, Tim and Sharrock left and I went to bed with buzzing ears and a sore head but….a very proud heart.
What a great, long day and easily proving the underdogs value to all present. Lots still to do with the SAS machine but immediate requests are just for more of the same tomorrow - I hope so – wow!
Another early start and after a few chats at the gaff and a cup of much welcome tea (cheers Paul) the first bands arrived. That is except for the opening act who go by the name of The Fortunate. A shuffle of the early timetable and a few more natters and as Stompin’ Ground were almost ready to take to the stage The Fortunate arrived. Explanations regarding a weekend of bad luck were received, believed and put to one side as I rushed the band into quick action. It transpired at this point that their singer wasn’t coming so they were just doing an instrumental set. Having come all the way from Birminham, with no singer, I really couldn’t fault the attitude and duly they got up and got on with what was a fair old effort. The high point was when Matt from Stompin’ Ground decided to take charge of vocal duties during a great rendition of The Clash epic ‘White Riot’. It sounded excellent and helped relieve any nerves the band were suffering from. The crowd were really welcoming and applauded the band for each and every effort and well deserved it was. They will be back and next timed armed to the teeth.
A quick tactical switch and The Bullet Kings were up and at it delivering 11 top notch tunes and really shaking up the days proceedings. These 3 big bastards don’t hang about and it ain’t all brutality. There are some cute touches in the melting pot and some really melodic tunes. ‘Terror Holiday’, ‘London Town’, ‘Riot’, ‘Words’, ‘My Country’ and ‘Skrew The World’ are just a taster of the quality ditty’s rattled out and how the crowd loved it. From the young to the old in two bands and again another SAS ethos. All ages, all styles – as long as the punk strain runs true you will be asked to do more. Best yet perhaps and still plenty of gas in the tank to keep the whipper-snappers on their toes.
Stompin’ Ground next and with a very good effort at pulling the punters in they knocked out their best set to date by far. Unbelievable the improvement shown here as this fledgling band has come on in leaps and bounds. Hard workers, never too arrogant to take advice and with a youthful determination this 3-piece should really take self pride in the strides they have taken to reach this situation so early in the bands career. Several punters remarked upon how they were amazed at the transformation shown. Brilliant and if, like some promoters, I would have disregarded this band on a few hearings then they might well have become despondent, disillusioned and wrapped it up. Here we were all given hard evidence as to why it is worth supporting the underdog and this set was a pure fuckin’ joy. For their commitment rewards will come and hopefully from many other peddlers of punk rock. Incredibly satisfying and keep on the up-turn and who knows what I will witness next time.
Steady skankers The Fractions followed and again, as usual, a great ska set was dished out in convincing style. This band seems to grow and grow and in true Spit and Sawdust fashion had no qualms about playing so early in the day despite headlining last year. That’s how the tour operates and these lot put in the usual effort with a string of entertaining numbers. ‘We Were Kings’ the best of the lot for me.
In need of a second wind the pace became altogether slower yet more unhinged as Matt Woods took to the stage and played his unique brand of one man deviancy to a grinning crowd. The start was excellent, the middle part entertaining and the latter end a bit of a patchwork. The John Cooper Clarke look-alike who assisted on a couple of numbers with a mouth twanging device (what the fuck are they called - Jews Harp or something) was a great inclusion and a couple of one-liners shook the funny bone of the most dour punter. ‘Burn Old People’ is always my fave and the only flaw was down to myself in letting Matt go on for too long and finally stutter to a standstill. He had the audience in the crack of his arse but the unrehearsed act let them roll down his trouser leg and escape. Sorry Matt and next time we’ll have you sharpened up and ready to roll. Still a great comical interlude and of course he’s coming back for more.
With a happy pile of punters (although the crowd was pretty wank compared to what I expected) the planned break was boycotted due to the earlier shenanigans and late start. Sense of Urgency suffered the tea-time break and played to, perhaps the worst crowd of the weekend, a fact with which I was disgusted because these fine troopers deserved much better. Don’t get me wrong there were a few in, and those that were gave excellent feedback. Fuckin’ hell even Carl from The Bullet Kings and AFS enjoyed it and he ain’t easy to please at all. I thought this lot were truly excellent and are becoming one of my favourite skank-edged bands. Why they don’t get more gigs with the Manchester brigade is beyond me but they are one of the best out there. The fontmans jigging around and cock-sure approach is backed by some fine players and the songs are just growing on me quicker than a sexual rash. Pissed or sober you get a value, quick set from SOU and I loved this one. Pity they were so wrecked from the night before and had to fuck off but everyone isn’t a glutton for punishment like me.
So to AFS. This band I have been following since their early performances and in truth – I am a fan. The approach is simplistic and the emphasis is on short, sharp punchy tunes with a few more cultured tunes thrown in for good measure and variety. The Arthritic Foot Soldiers were bang on again and this terse, ten song treat oozed no-nonsense quality with some old faves on show as well as 3 new offerings. The crème de la crème of today’s showing were the amusing ‘God Squad’, the ambiguous ‘Nobodies’ and the very classy ‘Dead Man Walking’. Closing with 3 new tracks displayed confidence and belief – 2 expected ingredients I have come to know only too well.
With RSI I continue this review and if you are still reading then have a fungal thumbs up, an arthritic thumb yes, but a thumb nonetheless.
Flat Back Four are a band I luckily came across, gave a gig to and have proved themselves a real asset to all the gigs they have played for me since. In fact the 9 times I have seen them I am sure have all been on one of my gigs bar one. That I think speaks volumes for this lot and the amount of gigs this lot put in and are always willing to help out at is admirable. Top blokes with top tunes – how easy can a promoters life be and with the frontman and bassist having recently discovered the pleasures of the bronze they are always going to get more gig offers from me. These are a real thoroughbred band who you can guarantee will always last the course and pull out some fantastic moments along the way. The songs are quite varied, constantly asking questions both of the audience and the players. ‘Burn The Flag’ opened tonight but for me the real cutlets from the fattened sow were ‘Share The Wealth’ – great fuckin’ principal and says a lot more than you realise, ‘If I Die Tonight’ – a clever piece with sombre tones, ‘Jeff’s Rock Night’ – an intro piece ya bastards but still quality, ‘Thatto Heath’ – sing-a-long time and always a winner, and the remarkable ‘Psalm 23’ – the most requested compilation piece which says it all. There’s not much else to say and if any band deserves a piece of the success pie then give these a double portion.
The Revenge Of The Psychotronic Man burst in and just as the set was kickin’ in, Tim ‘Punk4Life’ Davies drained of colour and set about having an epileptic seizure. Selfish, selfish bastard and if it wasn’t for the £100 I stole out of his wallet whilst he was fitting I would have been mighty miffed. Seriously though, seeing Tim fit was quite awful and as myself and Wilf placed him out of the way the gig carried on. I nipped upstairs to explain to landlord Banjo that the prostrate Tim he may discover downstairs was indeed fitting and not smashed out of his skull on bronze. Hard to believe I know but entirely true. Banjo, completely unmoved and with a deviant flicker of a smile across his mouth, acknowledged the situation and set about eating his tea and dreaming of alcohol. What a guy!
What I did see of ROPM sounded mighty fine and it just seems we may see them getting back to the levels they fell from nearly a year ago. We shall see.
Just Panic next and a great performance that was again marred by an equipment mishap (guitar string gone twang) but other than that this wasn’t half bad. The songs from the latest CD sounded mighty fine and if the set would have had a bit more fluidity then we would have had a real crackerjack. Still good though and several comments were made as regards the efficiency and craftsmanship of this outfit. It’ll do for me.
2 bands to go and it was about halfway through the last band that my attention span started dwindling. Fatigue had set in and with the prospect of a week of work, tennis and long walks ahead the thought of finishing the 3 days, getting home for a cup of cha and then to bed for a good snooze became ever more distracting. What better way to be kept awake than by the last two bands the first of which was the veritable stimulant I regard as The Shadowcops. A slighty altered set tonight but a power punching parade of rampant riffs and mesmerising technical skill nonetheless. Every tune was a barnstormer and bomb-blasted the on-lookers eardrums with earth trembling uproars of the highest order. ‘Fulgura Frango ( I break lightning) ’, ‘Calling Out The Elders’, ‘Putsch’, ‘Green Light’, ‘Recurrent Blockades’, ‘Folie a Deux (a shared madness of two persons) ’ and ‘My, My, My, My Personal Ennui’ raped the soundscape and again I stood back and admired a band that was pumping all pistons to the hilt. A style seldom seen on the streetpunk scene but one much welcome. Even though I adore this band the next slot will be lower down the order – hard for me but true to the tour – will they take it – tune in next year to find out?
And finally we come to the closing act of this 3 day blitz and what better way to close the curtain on this theatre of passion than with the unpolished, unpretentious and down to earth noise of the 2 Sick Monkeys. What a great duo these two ‘erberts are! With the twitchy Pete up front blasting his bass to pieces and interacting quite magnificently with the crowd and the subdued Fred at the back being as ever unassuming and holding the set together. This was truly fuckin’ excellent and all the principals of punk are thrown into this mix and come out with a winning flavour. Unorthodox but entirely committed, this brace of punky fuckers really do shift out a noise most 4-piece bands would be more than happy with. The songs are electric and truly come in to their own in the live arena due to the fact Pete is a master bassman constantly grimacing with effort and belief and the drummer is an accomplished artiste in his own right. I couldn’t have wished for a more truer full stop to this weekends SAS statement and the pleasure on the remaining punters faces at the end was memorable. ‘Too Many Secrets’ is my favourite and the crowd involving chants of ‘Fuck Off’ reflected the charming and enticing nature of frontman Pete – a real charismatic dude who keeps it as real as you want it and that my friends will do for me.
Chit chats, removal of the backdrops and a stroll to the chippy (which was full so that’s me starving then) and Tim was taken home. I went home with my family – ears buzzing, legs aching, clemmed (Northern slang for hungry) and unprepared for the next days work.
Another SAS jaunt done and dusted and put down, by me anyhow, as a fuckin’ success. ‘Why’ you may ask and my response is ‘Why the hell not’? The 3 days were up against some stiff competition and still went ahead! Because despite the competition this was where the best punk bands played and it was done with fantastic talent and in front of a promoter who took time to watch them all and who thoroughly believes in the punk ethos! Because this weekend it was another two-fingered salute to the doubters, the lethargic and the parasites! Because punk is for the street urchin who likes it real and unassuming and no matter what some may think and do this is the main principal of the tour. Because overall the SAS says something and isn’t a run of the mill adventure going through the motions. Because some of us are not happy to watch scenesters and seekers of the safety net ruin something so precious. Because it susses the false and supports the true. Because its fuckin’ SAS – Spit And Sawdust – 100% unaffected – SAS – Sincerely A Struggle – that’s how it is – SAS – Stubborn And Stupid – but not misdirected!
Thank you and full fuckin’ stop!
Keep the faith or kill yourself being a fraud.
Fungalpunk/OMD – so bothered he gets off his arse now and again