THE SAS TOUR
WAKEFIELD, THE JOCKEY - 6th June 2009
A gig running smoothly - NEVER! Well this one was going great guns until the night before. One band had fallen victim to car trouble and had no mode of transport and another had just lost their bassist due to an attack of glandular fever. To add to the mess the band who had had this diseased dilemma were supplying the drums and even though they had found a replacement they couldn't get their until over an hour after the proposed start time. A few panic phone calls and all was left in limbo. Perhaps we would have to over-run after all but I would have preferred to stick to schedule. Oooh the pressure.
To the day of the gig and no phone calls had come in to alleviate the position and the myspace messages were non-existent. Off I set to the days Coleoptera walk (beetles) and whilst traipsing around in the mud and rain my mind was partially distracted as to how the night would unfold. Anyway the beetle wander was a success with a few new species added for me and the family and so after a mad dash to get some willow leaves to feed my Puss Moth collection we hit the road and headed for Wakefield. With mud covered jeans, piss wet through feet and an already jaded noggin I tried my best to keep positive and just hoped all would turn-out well. Enter Joel - Most Likely To Fails excellent drummer and saviour of the nights timetable. The previous evening I had left Joel a message and said that if he could get there early and provide the drum-kit it would help out enormously and get things back on track. The silly twat that I am only left my home number so despite Joel trying to get an contact the next day and failing because I was in search of six-legged critters he still stood strong and brought the kit just in case. I have always defended and been proud to work with the Most Likely To Fail crew and this only backed up my faith in their attitude to the cause. Fuckin' quality and a million thanks lads! So back on track and as I squelched back and forth meeting and greeting and helping finalise the running order things inside the old grey matter finally decided to calm down a bit. All bands turned up in good time and lo and behold 3 Black Dwarfs who were bringing the original kit ended up arriving in good time anyway so all the fuss was for nothing - aaaggghhhh - tranquilisers please! No problems either way to be honest and my ethos is that if we can't help each other along in times of crisis and when things out of our control go titties up then we really are fucked.
So on to the gig itself. Crowd wise not fantastic but with a patchy attendance that promised to grow then wilted and suddenly had several minor flourishes. The gaff I think is spot on with a great layout, a great host (yeah that's you Rob - you wine swilling tinker) and a general good spacious feel. The Kingcrows kicked off the night with what was a really spot on outpouring of punk rock glamour. Every tune was spot on the mark and played with nice precision. The frontman (Phil E. Stine) held fort and has a good stage presence that catches the eye - oh and he can sing too (always a bonus). I liked this very much and so did my good lady and sharp-eared daughter (they know their punk ya buggers). Good tuneful composites with a super abundance of melodic meat on the bone. There were plenty of new songs thrown into the mix with 'Sex Oui' and 'Magdelene' the pick. 'Revolution Street' rocked as per usual and the last song (of which I missed the title - perhaps called 'The Letter') closed a concrete collection with class. Pity 'Insult And Injury' was missing as this is a personal fave but I have no complaints with what I saw whatsoever and judging on punter feedback afterwards neither did anyone else (I should think fuckin' not). Nice set of lads too so get booking em' you promoting punkers.
Mediatrocity travelled from Norwich for this and had somewhat of a shite journey due to congestion. That, though, shows fuckin' true spirit and the fact that they came over for this one gig alone really startled me- fuckin' excellent. My take on their set - well after the first two songs were just about got through after the odd mis-timing (albeit very slight) the band kicked into another gear and really rocked hard. In fact the set got better and better has the crew gained in confidence. Don't forget this is a relatively new band and on this showing the future should be bright (emphasis on 'should be' as I know the lazy fuckers who should support these bands only too well). Anyway I enjoyed it and the skank and hardcore interplay hit the mark and on several occasions trespassed beyond. There were some very exciting moments and 'Sex Sells' was the pick of the crop. Frontman Dan I knew from his previous band The Jinx (another class outfit who are no longer together) and it seems he has landed on his feet again here with another solid outfit. Yes - more to come and next time hopefully a few of you other promoters can help out and get them a mini-tour together - you won't be disappointed.
Talking of being disappointed - imagine flying over from the US and doing your first ever gig in the septic UK and realising the punk spirit isn't what is cracked up to be on this side of the water. Well Mason Summers came, worked hard but didn't conquer as the crowd stood still (albeit 4 pogoing Mediatrocity members - brilliant) and failed to ignite the spark the frontman offered. This is the state of play in this green and apathetic land and the rose-coloured glasses this 3-piece wore must surely be a little shit stained after the night’s events. They played well albeit a little loose in parts and I thought the gusto of the lead vox/guitarist deserved more. I did apologise afterwards and warned him to expect more of the same as, if you are unknown then the crowd won't play ball. Perhaps if all shows go well then the next visit will be more rewarding - we shall see. The drummer worked hard, the bassist kept steady rhythm and held a few eyes and the energetic frontguy hustled and bustled with vigorous enthusiasm. A nice switch in the evenings outpourings and deserved of more.
Most Likely To Fail - need I carry on? Yes I am a fan and they have proven themselves over and over again as being worthy of all my efforts. Great guys to have around, great musicians with great songs and always willing to chip in when things get messy. Tonight was a set of primarily new songs and many of the favourites that I have come to be familiar with over the last 16 viewings were missing. The good thing is that no matter how fond I was, and still am of these songs, the fact is the new ones are just as good (if not better) and contributed to one of MLTF's best showings to date. The title of the band says so much and their acceptance of a shitty, unresponsive scene is done primarily with a serious tone but with a slightly derisive laugh at the ones who are missing out on so much. Why these guys don't achieve more is down to the punters and nothing else - buy carry on they must. 'Bankrupt' was a pip yet every song was thoroughly entertaining and band on the button. The crew have a new recording in the pipeline and after this showing I expect much.
Last year I attended an Anti-Nowhere League gig before I went mothing. I wasn't bothered about the headline band - seen it, done it and got the CD (still a good band though) but I turned up to support a couple of underdog bands one of whom was unknown to me, namely 3 Black Dwarfs. Despite reports the next day of the ANL having a very good crowd it was no surprise to see 3BD play to 4 fuckin' punters. A real gripe with me is people who just turn up to see the headline band and are so devoid of spirit and passion that they have no interest in the up and coming newcomers. Well the set of cunts that they are truly missed out that night as 3BD played a really solid set and caught my ever roving eye. A free demo CD was had, a review done and gigs given. Tonight was the third gig for me (with two more already in the pipeline) and never one to shy away from pushing forward choice talent that I personally believe in I gave them the headline slot. Was it justified? Well I think yes - totally and utterly yes, yes, yes and I bet if you ask the bands they will agree. Don't get me wrong 3BD will have to chip in and get circulated like the rest of the SAS outfits which I know they have no qualms about (that's spirit for ya fuckers) and I am more than pleased to announce that here we have one great band just waiting to be picked up and sent on to bigger things. Tonight the set just ejaculated class and heaved with articulate attention to detail and precocious accuracy. Every song has moments of sublime talent and immense bombarding power and all and sundry in attendance seemed well impressed by what transpired. 'Cellar V', 'The Stalemate Story Of Life', One Plus One' and of course 'Time' all raised the rafters but the standard throughout was up, up and away. I loved it and bubbled inside with total pleasure and felt that this punk fuckin' cause is still worth fighting for despite the shit that comes my way. This lot are going places and I hope they stay true to their roots and keep alive the bread and butter gigs where the few real people dwell.
Tonight then I dug in deep, was repaid with a far from impressive crowd but a spirit from the bands I could only wish for. Thanks to each and every member for their efforts and ability to get up and have a go and importantly still trying to kick against the pricks. It is a hopeless cause but as long as we niggle the idle and the ones in the self-congratulating comfort zones who just want the same old shit then we are succeeding. I am in need of a rest but after tonight I felt like rushing out and booking 20 more gigs on the bounce. Sometimes the spirit hits home and you just want to go out and get at em' (well all the time in my case) but I cannot get carried away. The underdog cause is a rough one (or woof one if you like yer lolly stick jokes) but one worth fighting for. The reality, the genuine people and the fact that we are perhaps sinking together makes it worthwhile but one thing is for sure you will never destroy the passion. Think on, wake up and go gig now - SAS SOS - calling all 'erberts - go, go, go!