Imagine cutting your testicles off and dipping them in vinegar whilst listening to a compilation of Elton John's piss awful music. Imagine cutting off all your fingers and going on a shoplifting spree only to be caught by the only gay security store manager in the village and forced to give him a good fisting with your digit-free appendage. These are just two of the horrific scenarios I contemplated when wondering why I dabble in the DIY arena and cause myself such worry. The day of my latest gig had arrived, a big local shindig threatened to ruin matters as the 'punks' went and indulged in their socialising and worshipping of their pseudo-gods. One unit pulled out on the day having me asking if gear was going to be lacking the gig a right old fiasco. I was sure things would be Ok but a doubting voice nagged at my cerebral nadgers and left me a little uneasy - hey fuckin' ho, this is DIY and this is what happened to prove my love of the sub-genre is worth the effort.

I was dropped off at The Station after receiving news that many were going to the puke-inducing big band bonanza, had other plans or had fallen victim to the lurgy after a recent festival indulgence. I arrived early to be greeted by an almost empty gaff. Soon after the bands began to trickle forth, all up for the gig, knowing the script only too well and showcasing a beautiful passion for what they do. It is a wonderful place to be surrounded by likeminded souls - and it was good to be back at the ultimate DIY gaff and, thanks to the ever supportive Pauline Town, allowed to do our stuff.

With one unit down there was no need to rush and so many good chats were had, Tommy Couch (the eternal skin whipping bugger and P45's drummer) revealed (on several occasions) that it was his birthday whilst the bands slowly set up the gear for the night (all present and correct) and prepared to get a minor backstreet classic underway.

Prior to things starting a mixed bag of people arrived and it was an utter blessing to see folks back out at The Station and ready to fill their lugs. There was no uniform here, no specific onion bag full of pre-labeled eye-waterers - just good folk out and helping we humble have-a-go 'erberts keep on rolling.

First up and a debut performance from Thee Oddz, a 3 piece consisting of a trio of familiar noise makers still looking to stretch their sonic arms and ply their valued trade. The set was of 7 songs, each song well-crafted, considered and laden with a fine balance of rhythm and power. There were many influences here, a smattering of things punk, a heap of things post punk and also, may it be said, a slosh of all three-way personal tastes so as to keep things more than a little interesting. The guitar played buggery for the first track, the follow-on bands wire-bender stepped up and loaned out his personal weapon (phwoar) - the set progressed and for a first time showing this was nothing short of absorbing. All in attendance lapped up the diversity, the sincerity and of course the tribute song to a recently lost warrior. I found the whole set perfectly timed, awash with enough cultured attention and thought-inducing musicianship to add the band to my list of 'rebookables' - it is a choice list with no wash-outs, sell-outs or watery wank offs on it - I think that says a lot. My first verdict here is one of a band that are going to be consistent pluckers with an angle to add to any gig - what a good start and what a good holler and round of applause they got.

A few ciders and more mandible wagging before The P45's were up and at it. This lot have played one gig, on the back of that debut performance I booked them, on the back of tonight's performance I reckon we have one of the biggest potentials on the scene. What the band do is nail short, sharp, punchy tunes and do so with a fun, zeal and happy-feel hungriness that I for one fuckin' love. Again we had a 3-piece - 3 artistes well-versed in what they do especially the drummer who has been around the block on many occasions and was celebrating his birthday (did I mention that already). The set began with high impetus and snagging melody with the bass masturbated with relish, the guitar groomed and garnished by eager hands and the tympanics twatted, toyed with and turned inside out by a man with a smile and obviously loving what he was doing. So many songs come, have you singing along and leave you utterly smitten. 'Opposites' is a catchy beauty (and the current Song of the Month on this site) but so many others follow suit and believe me, this lot are a non-stop joy from the first twang to the final tumble. The guitarist had a wander outside during the set and peered through the window whilst the noise continued, the bassist worked up a foaming lather and the drummer who was 45 today (as if) impressed all and sundry.  I wanna see this lot again, they are playing a gig in less than a months time just down the road – I best get my diary sorted.  Excellent and I wonder what lyric sheet they will be using next time.

To close I had the Rodents booked - a young unit placed in a position of good trust and with 2 great bands having nailed their sets, the pressure was now on. To be fair the lads got up (including a half pissed bass player) and rocked the joint with a montage of fiery and passionate tunes that I fuckin' lapped up. These are a really fuckin' good band and after picking up a CD at a Non League footy match, I listened, reviewed, gushed and got the buggers booked. The crew have style, play with many angles and have a good balance of melody and gumption with many raw-boned DIY elements in the mix. The songs are throwback in spirit, modern day in delivery and just blitzed home with a precocious pedigree. Of course 'Mad For It' is a personal fave and what I deem a modern 'under the radar' classic but I found this set laden with something utterly believable and unaffected and with many spot on tunes. The crowd lapped it up, the two lasses the band had brought with them were joyous firecrackers - I think I need another fix of the verminised vibrations very soon.  I have promised them more gigs, I am impressed and rejuvenated, for a 56 year old I gotta thank the band for this feeling – ooh me gonads.

The night ended with smiling faces, good folk nattering and one last cider for me. I went home fuckin' elated and, as per, overjoyed by the quality of the DIY scene. I am no fool though and know, just around the corner a bad turn-out can be had for me or any one of the bands and some real whippings will be had at the hands of the more socialised and en-vogue gigs - fuck em' is all I can say. The blood runs rich and true and after many blows and bad do's I am happy to take this one as a recharge of the batteries and keep on rolling. The year has been kind thus far, let us hope the sun continues to shine on all things humble, happening and fuckin' honest. We are the defiant.

Big thanks to all who came and enjoyed the gig and to Pauline for opening the doors and letting us do what we do at this fine venue. Choice!

review by Fungalpunk/OMD (13 June 2022)