On a cold winters evening fine punker Lenny Hoggets picked me up to trek off in the snow to Derby. I was still feeling like crap due to a virus I have had for a couple of months, sickly old bastard that I am. Anyway after much chin wagging and listening to punk rock tuneage on the cars in house entertainment system we arrive at at The Hairy Dog with me still half wishing I was at home with the Mrs and a Lemsip. The first bloke we bump into was Lennys mate Paul who runs the gaff. He showed us round and what a great gaff it is. It is an awesome punk ridden place which had dub reggae booming out downstairs and dirty punk rock booming out upstairs. The punk rock was coming from Electric Shite Orchestra (E.S.O) who were halfway through their gruff set of mainly punk covers by the time we joined them. I like the E.S.O. I like their choice of covers. ‘Chinese Rocks’, ‘No Government’, ‘Seek and Destroy’ etc. With the man mountain Johnny March on guitar and gob duty the band are given a presence and cheeky chappy Tezza gives them endearment. The 3 guys work well together and E.S.O are a likeable character in the underground punk scene. I look forward to hearing some more of their own songs.

Next up are one of the finest and original bands around at the moment Exit The Network. Edgy,unhinged and angular. I raved about them the last time I saw them, tonight they are even better. More in your face with Johnny Vincent baiting you in a fine Mark E Smith twang.  Full on punk noise but spiced with Crisis and Joy Division essence. The main improvement I guess is they are slightly tighter which sharpens the corners and angles which stick into a punk rock soul. Take a deep breathe and suffocate because it’s the only way out once Exit The Network have ensnared you in their post punk, punk rock, body gripping trap.

Ok moving on to a bunch of more conventionally unhinged gentlemen, Mr. Wolf. They treat us to a fine set of Green Day and Sponge etc inspired madness. Fun, fun fun and daddy ain't gonna take the thunderbird away. They perform the best ever cover of ‘Gangsters Paradis’e. Lots of energy, lots of fun, lots of laughs. Treats galore tonight, dancing feet, smiling faces and punk bloody rock straight from Alkaline Trios cocktail cabinet. The bands sense of humor brings about laughter and their music makes you skip. A good all round fun band in a Diesel Boy kinda way.

Atoms take the stage complete with Joe Strummer haircuts and a Screeching Weasel, Ramones feel. Good, solid punk. Short, no thrills songs which grab you, 1, 2, 3, let’s go. I like this kind of noise and The Atoms make this kind of noise well. Beefy fun punk of the kind The Queers dine on. Catchy, sing-a-long with cleverly dumb ass lyrics. That’s it I am off to listen to ‘Ice Cream Man’ by Sloppy Seconds. ‘I may scare your children but just thank God I haven’t killed them”.

It’s been an awesome night so far and it’s about to get even better. Wonk Unit must be one of the craziest punk bands ever but in my opinion they are also one of the best. Zany, original, clever in an unpretentious way. You don’t see a band when you watch Wonk Unit you have an experience. The band kick off with ‘Horses’ which has bugger all to do with Patti Smith but is a lament about a horse being out in the cold and being glad that you’re not  a pony, I think? Trying to reference Wonk Unit to other bands is like trying to compare the Long-eared Jerboa with other rodents, there are no reference points. Songs about not wanting to be a builder because Alex’ (Emo Philipsesque frontman and sage) beautiful piano playing hands are getting damaged. ‘Plasterer’ is one of the finest crafted songs I have heard but every song is great. I am not kissing arse, Wonk Unit were brilliant at this gig and are a top notch band. The crowd were more than appreciative and a toe wasn’t tapping or a mouth not laughing in the place. Being a fine fun band is one thing but Wonk Unit turn it into a fine art form. So off kilter, surreal, eccentric and uncompromising. There is a lot of talk about Wonk Unit in the punk scene and I for one think it’s excellent that the talk is about a band who are so unique, different and original. One of the things I loved about punk rock in the early days was its diversity and experimentation. With the love for Wonk Unit in the scene there is hope that the underground punk scenes future might be more colourful, diverse and creative. If you haven’t seen them DO SO.

So overall one of the best gigs I have been to for a long time and it was in aid of Rethink Derby with a special emphasis on getting some musical instruments for a mental health drop in centre-great cause, great bands and a great blummin night.

review by Eagle Spits (15 January 2013)