THE SAS TOUR
RETFORD, THE BROKEN WHEEL - 21st April 2007
I met Tim 'Punk4Life' Davies in Sheffield at 10.30 after catching the train from Stockport. This was going to be a long day so we both packed up a bit of grub and stuff before setting off. First stop a quick mooch round town then footy and 4 pints in The Globe. Decent boozer where we completed the Express cryptic crossword in twenty minutes and I predicted the 2-2 draw of the Arsenal v Spurs match. Could have had a bet there? Off in search of beer ended up with 8 cans of Grolsch shared on the train whilst chatting with various 'erberts along the way.
Arrived at Retford about 3.30 and did a chippy visit (very good too) and a 12 can purchase from the local Asda. Bitter this time as variety is indeed the spice of drunkeness. We got to the venue at 5.30'ish with bands arriving not long after.
With time in abundance the gear was set and Flat Back Four, Most Likely To Fail and The Negatives all had a good sound check and knocked out some class tunes. Great start to a great evening the punk public refused to acknowledge in their infinite idiocy. Fuck em' and plod - its a shame really when the bastards who have the potential to grind you down are the punks themselves (punks used by the way in its loosest sense).
Well Most Likely To Fail opened tonight and this band have really won me over with the fine attitude, spirit and friendliness they have shown so far. Add to this a great repertoire of songs that are delivered with great skill and forethought and you have a band who are just sheer fuckin' quality. Reliant on excellent song construction rather than the smash and grab quickie style of other punk bands these lot are a crackin' band to see with quality tune after quality tune being dished forth. In all honesty I thought this was absolutely fantastic and the way things stand they are welcome to play any SAS gig they want. And yes 'American Jesus' was covered and dished out in stunning style - wow.
Flat Back Four followed and the fact that they had played with MLTF on a previous SAS gig I thought the two bands again would be a sure fire recipe for success. Well this was a triumph indeed and yet another band who are always amiable, good company and fun to be around. Yes the buggers are another class outfit and yo and behold I was watching the second stunning performance of the evening. This it what the SAS adventure has been about - bringing together an abundance of talent and they don't come much better than Flat Back Four. 'Thatto Heath' is a crowd winning gem (what crowd? yeah I know but one can try) and 'Psalm 23' just makes me feel great inside because its a simple and remarkable piece of music that says everything that this band is. Brilliant and the SAS eternal invite is yours.
Well 2 bands down and for me this was just a wonderful evening. The crowd may have been almost non existant but the bands were up for this and these testers of patience seperate the wheat from the chaff or whingers from the believers. Not a fuckin' whinger in sight. How good does that feel then?
The Fractions hit the stage next and as is expected this was an high octane assault of ska and punk vomited out in perfect style. Surely not 3 bands in a row of such high standard. Sorry but that was the case - just amazing. The busy hustle and bustle approach of The Fractions puts them up there in the upper branches of the ska tree and the passionate expressions on these young buggers faces when strutting their stuff says it all. What can one add - just a searing pleasure?
Still the punters didn't arrive and in some ways this adds more building blocks to my personal wall of defiance in believing that what I am doing here is fully justified. I am trying to build something that lasts forever in the minds of those who take part and witness it - something positive that pisses in the face of the complacent. This is not a one man mission but a conserted effort by a bunch of decent people trying to just knock out some damn fine music and have a good time in the process. When you get a bunch of people together of tonight's ilk then you feel that you all can do something great and why not indeed. We mean it man!
Next a new band for me but vibes had been picked up and I had an inkling they were worth a shot. The last SAS they played I missed but feedback was positive and having met the geezers literally hours prior to their stage appearance I was well pleased by what I'd witnessed. Totally committed and just fuckin' great geezers I expected a good showing but little did I realise I was in for a jaw droppping stunner that made this gig a total classic. Down South there was a weekend 3 dayer going on that I presume was rammed due to it having the same old faves knocking out the same old tunes to the same old faces. Silly, silly bastards - £90 for groundhog day - FA for a classic - how many times does it need repeating? Well The Strait Jackets were utter brilliance and my personal fave 'Baby got killed by a landmine' was just beautiful. Amazing and surely another for all SAS expeditions pushing the underdog. Incredible.
Lastly The Negatives - the pride of Yorkshire. Like a corrupt card player indulging in some five card brag I felt I was on the way to a hand of 5 aces and in truth I was. Tino (The Negs drummer) is a pure punk pirate and has carried the banner for the good guy for many a year and his doggedness and nice guy approach have always deserved better but the bugger rounds up his men and always manages to come up trumps with a good performance. Here it was another belter and in truth over the last 12 month I feel this lot are producing the best stuff I've seen in a long while. Great tunes with genuine punk energy this was a top finish to a top gig. Lovely.
SAS 2007 part 1 - over - tired, disillusioned but really convinced I have uncovered some great people in equally great bands capable of mixing it with the so-called big boys any day of the week. People who say punk is dead are ones who are too fuckin' idle to scratch the surface or are looking in all the places where the stereotypes mingle. Punk is Dead - bullshit - its alive and kickin' in many a fine band that just needs to be given a chance. Luckily I witnessed this gig and I thoroughly enjoyed everything about it - I thank everyone who took part for their commitment, excellent company and wonderful talent - keep the faith - every dog has its day and when we do we'll savage the fuckers.
Next stop part 2 - September a 3 day spectacle in Stockport - check it out and come see a stunner - £10 for 30 bands - now what excuse have you this time?