THE SAS TOUR
BRADFORD, THE MANNVILLE ARMS - 8th November 2008
It seemed as though it had been a long time since I last did a gig in Bradford and so when the chance came to put a gig on at this new venue (to me anyway) I took it with both hands grasping. Bradford is always a struggle but I have a soft spot for the area and have met some cracking people over there and believe there is a scene to be revitalised. News of Rancid playing just down the road did nothing for my confidence but hey that's how the scene goes and the obsession with names and the US exports is beyond my control. The SAS fungalisation continues and what will be will be.
Myself, good lady and young lass (all now Bradford connoisseurs) found the gaff after only a couple of wrong turnings which in itself is some kind of record for the mazy town. The Exchange used to cause us no end of logistical problems and the Gasworks wasn't much better. Both great venues but tucked away in the elusive crotch of the northern town.
Salutations to a few faces and a few natters to Alec (Wild Trash guitarist), the MLTF crew and Tom from Flat Back Four and the rest of the bands started to arrive. All seemed in good spirits despite the dreary weather and the venue had a good atmosphere about it with plenty punters inside to make this a decent gig - fungal digits crossed! The sound needed a few tweaks here and there and as Flat Back Four pottered about a few hiccups were smoothed over and the band eventually set about their night's work.
A few recent line-up changes have halted FBF's progress somewhat and the band a re-finding their feet after this unexpected change around. Tonight saw the unit work hard and really open in stunning fashion to a very receptive crowd that gave their all for not only this band but every band of the night. Each and every song was praised with whoops, shouts and applause with the spirit of Bradford shining bright on the night. FBF lapped it up and despite one or two hiccups they produced the goods and any outsider wouldn't have known this was practically a new line-up. 'Burn The Flag' opened in grand fashion and led into the convincing 'Dogs Actually'. The set never looked back with the mighty 'Jeff's Rock Night', the always entertaining 'Thatto Heath', the morally uplifting 'Share The Wealth' and the eternally hopeful 'Psalm 23' all raising the bar of excellence. 'Alcohol' was a nice finish and I was more than happy with everything I witnessed. Great to see Andy Dazzler back in the Fungal mix and his company is always welcome as well as his great musical ability and know how. He did a solid job and the new guitarist Tom did equally well with an obvious enjoyment written all over his face.
So a great opening and next came Blow-Up Doll from Derby playing only their 4th gig and following such a great band. This was a tough test but it was with admiration and contented pleasure I watched these 4 youthful buggers thrash out a glammy, punkoloid set that had it's odd loose moment and mis-timed note but which still thrived on commitment, belief and vibrating visuals. Add to this choice mix some great tunes and a crowd that were well up for it and Blow Up Doll should be well chuffed with their night's labour. In fact the visual aspect may well help this lot onto greater and better things but they must continue to work hard and produce the ditty's. This was my first viewing and I am more than happy to give them more gigs on the back of this evidence. The fact that they dragged a van load is an added bonus and says a lot about the attitude which for me is 90% of what being in a band is all about. A recording is the next step after a few more tumbles into the gigging arena and we can take it from there. A fungal nod of the head for sure!
Fungal faves Most Likely To Fail cracked on next and despite the sound playing up for one or two numbers the lads did me proud again with another great set that just drips with classic tune after classic tune. You don't need a degree to get what this lot are about, it is just a case of some damn fine fellars trying to have a good time and get as many people to enjoy their music as possible. No underhand motives, no great money making schemes - just a whole heap of honesty and commitment to the cause gives me more than enough reason to get these guys gigs over and over again. I love em' to bits and the songs are just fuckin' great. I consider this lot my fungal flag flying band and I hope they can really get the cogs tuurning on their much appreciated music machine. The new stuff tonight made my jaw drop with anticipation and the old songs were as good as ever. If any band deserves more then MLTF get my vote. A real comfy pleasure.
Next up Mispelt 2.0 and after their recent quality outing in the murky depths of Manchester, which gained some unwarranted criticism from self-appointed musical maestros in the supposedly music capital of the north (feel free to laugh out loud) this lot had nothing whatsoever to prove to me as I think they are one of the best bands on the circuit. I came, I expected and...fuckin' hell I was well and truly blown away. This was a total orgasmic delight and one which I really needed as punk lately has left a lot to be desired with it's oh so cosy self-embracing, unconcinving attitude. My oh my this is what it's all about and all four players here worked as a team and gained victory as a team in what was an inpeccable set. Dunk on bass was his charming self and really works well alongside that elfin mistress, Gen, who has the voice of a banshee and the delightful look of a kid in a sweet shop. The drums are always quality and come via a rockin' guy called Kev who is as good a company as you good wish for as is Steve the much under-rated guitarist who oozes talent and has a crackin' attitude and temperament. Good company, good tunes and good for the scene and this was my annual highlight by far and each and every song was a veritable classic. My young daughter Katie has been a fan of Mispelt 2.0 for a few years now and this was her initial viewing so I was really hoping the band could give her what she expected (high standards you see in the fungal household). Well looking at her face and listening to her after they did just that and a whole lot more. 'Superhero', 'Foxtrot Oscar', Petrol Bomb 2008', 'Dead Man Walking', 'Trisha', 'Drive It Like You Stole It' and the remarkable 'Junkfood Generation' - wow - amazing! Afterwards I had to personally thank all members for one helluva memorable set and for getting this fungal fuckers head out of the doldrums as regards the scene. This is why I am a punk - nothing more and nothing less - just a guy who loves it 100% and my true thanks go to Mispelt 2.0 for helping remind me of that - Cheers and beers as they say.
And so finally to Wild Trash. Well how do you follow that but Wild Trash did. In their own way and with a pissed-up guitarist (who still played a cracker) this lot ended the night in fine style with an array of songs that are just growing on me by the day. Frontman Kev is a mate and a real punk nut that just loves the music and the innner vibe it gives and really puts his all into every performance. He now has a band to work with who are well up for it and I am well pleased for him. 4 good players here who can only get better and the initial evidence on their 2 CD's bodes very well indeed for the forthcoming release. The highs of this were the brave cover of 'Bonzo Goes To Bitburg'; the classic 'Bonnie and Clyde' and the finale of 'The Sun Goes Down'. Great songs delivered with passion but the true giant amongst the madness was 'This Town' which is surely Bradford's greatest tribute. A total anthem and one which I adore for nothing more than the honest pride and stunning composure. In fact I can't remember hearing a better tribute song to a hometown and the whole delivery tonight was exceptional. Alec the guitarist sings and Kev pings and pogo's with childlike enthuisiasm as well as adding the odd backing vocals here and there. Eye-catching stuff and awash with stunning punk energy. A moment to treasure. The band closed the evening in great style and for me the evening was a success.
Point again must be made to the crowd who gave quite excellent appreciation to every song from every band and this is what can turn a night into a real winer. Bradford be proud and thank you to everyone for attending this. Cheers to the band for giving myself and family some stunning entertainment and cheers to the gaff for giving me the chance. Hopefully more of the same again please with a bigger crowd and a bigger noise. Hey and cheers to the soundguy for hanging on in there - many appreciations and of course to punk underground peddlar Leon aka Punkined for his help with promotion and his valuable support.
review by OMD (9 November 2008)