It came as a major blow for Punk 4 The Homeless when we lost our venue for our Cheap As Chips Festival. Last years festival took place at Velvet Venue, Anderby Creek nr Skegness. Unfortunately the LADIES WHO RAN THE PLACE DID SUCH A GOOD JOB OF DOING THE PLACE UP that the owners decided they wanted the place back. We spent several weeks looking for an alternative venue and had given up. Then a chap called Graham Hawks contacted me with regards to putting some punk rock on at The Gathering, hence Punk 4 The Homeless Cheap As Chips Day and what a day it was.
The Gathering is located in Sutton Bridge, the heart of darkness in nowheresville Lincolnshire. A place best known for its turnip polishing, ferret racing, a beautiful swing bridge and my birth place just down the road.

The Gathering Rock Café and Bar is an awesome friendly alternative type place run by a heavy metal type couple with suitably alternative types assisting the running of the bar etc. Everybody is welcome from the most flamboyant steam punkers to lady tractor drivers in curlers and dungarees. Today we have a day of top notch punk rock in aid of street children-

Bands playing today are:- Kamikaze Hotshot, Hospital Food, The Culprits, The Poor Geezers, Brocker, 3 Stone Monkey, Lowlife UK and The Blissetts

Kamikaze Hotshot, who kick the day into action in the finest Wildhearts, Backyard Babies, Johnny Thunders  fashion.  Full on punk rock ‘n’ roll from New York, Lincolnshire (actually although such a place actually exists just outside Boston UK  they were in fact from Spalding). Bandanas, big riffs, hair and an audience. Yes it was about 1pm and people were going ape, wonderful, no trendy come lately’s at this venue. It’s often hard to be first on but these boys stomped it and stormed it, chucked a few unusual covers, (All My Friends Are Dead, 99 Red Balloons and Blitzkrieg Bop, sweet as) in and left the audience wanting more. Sorry no time-NEXT.

A big slab of Old Skool punk in the Cook ‘n’ Chill format which is Hospital Food. Three blokes churning out 3 chord punk. The stuff we know and love so well. Punk rock with shouty Oi bits. Songs about drinking and other non-political punk related subjects. They chuck in some covers which touched the punk bones, ‘Belsen Was A Gas’, ‘Oi For England’ (a song which has got them a reputation for being racist in some quarters - today they are helping kids in Latin America and playing alongside some very outspoken anti racists - you decide) and a Negatives cover (a fellow Wakefield band). To the ears of this old punk they sounded great and came over as three splendid chaps who enjoyed playing Old Skool punk and played it very well. Sweet to my ears. Uncomplicated, no pretentions just quality punk bloody rock of the variety which could be found on No Future Records some years ago.

Two bands needed to pull out so Eagle Spits spat for a bit until The Culprits were due on. The Culprits did what The Culprits do exceedingly well. Fast, full on, political punk rock with in your face dual male and female vocals. Today we see Sophie (said female vocalist) slightly less active than usual. She was on crutches. This does not stop her shouting, snarling and singing(?) in conjunction with the high speed juggernaut which is The Culprits. Wonderfully high energy aggressive punk which could have come thundering out of Stoke on Trent if it wasn’t for the Norwich twang.
The sound is raging but the warmth of the band blazes through. Good natured noise with a great personality. People danced and partook of the jolly japers.

There was a look of total AGHAST ‘what the fuckness’ on the faces of the sound guys when The Poor Geezers took the stage. The usual suspects, Eagle Spits and Dean Riches were joined by flute/bongos player, Rob Rainbow Trousers. They did the usual patchwork punk set and some folk danced and sang along. Quaint.

The acoustic bizarreness was followed by a full on punk/ska assault.
Brocker may well have found themselves approached by Fat Wreck at some point but their balls were way too big. Catchy modern sounding punk stuff which saw lots of craziness on the dance floor/mosh pit. An obvious love for The Ramones. Nothing was big enough to hold the reigns of this hound tonight. Not even the troll which had wandered out the marsh by mistake. The band was tight, energetic and worked the crowd up volcanically. Their set included ‘One Man Moshpit’ (although he had several friends with him tonight)and ‘Gangster Ska’ which induced some edgy movement and put a stop to casual on looking. Wonderful, just wonderful.

The next bunch of mad men to destroy the hearing of the people gathered at The Gathering are 3 Stone Monkey who feature 3 blokes who used to be in Road Rage but as the mighty philosopher Elton John says ‘used to be’s don’t count anymore’. So what were they like - fantastic, mad and fantastic. Very loud angular punk type noise with bouncy bits and an evil looking gorilla type thing jumping around - AWESOME. Amongst the extremely energetic stuff there were to be found slower atmospheric bits with an almost Victorian fairground feel. At times they reminded me of Blaster The Rocket Man which to my ears is sweet, well ‘I am only humanoid’.  Judging by the moshing and crazy antics of the energetic punters (who never stopped dancing all day) the rest of the venue enjoyed em’ as much as I did - A PLEASURE.

I studied at 4 universities and worked as a Community Psychiatric Nurse for countless years but never came across a condition where an accountant type person dons a pair of dark glasses and turns into a psychopath with epilepsy. That was until seeing Lowlife UK with their ‘in your face’ frontman. Lowlife UK is tight as you like, edgy, full on punk fuckin’ rock. Tighter than a badgers set. This was the 3rd time I’d seen the band and I had liked them before. Tonight I loved em’.  An unstoppable runaway train. Definitely Cocksparrer aspects but with Motorhead, AC/DC  bits woven in.  The place was going ape shit and the band were pumping out top notch punk, what else? If I was anally retentive enough to give this band marks out of 10, I would give them 10 tonight.  Spiky edgy, sharp and crafted. Also not one of their wives spilt beer on me tonight ,which is a bonus.

Finally, The Blissetts - full steam ahead, anti-political, political punk rock. Anti-fascist lovers of Blaggers ITA turning out well crafted assertive punk noise. The more obvious punk influences were present, Conflict, Dead Kennedy’s, Angelic Upstarts etc. but there were, what my ears took to be, intense and more obscure influences. Somewhat akin to Slint, Lung, Oil Seed Rape and other bands of that ilk. Their usual subjects of importance were covered, racism, capitalism, politics, war etc. etc. but for some reason Simon Cowell and Little Jimmy Saville were also attacked. Full on driving force, well rehearsed musical attack from people who know how to play and click together in a muscle bound combat assault. Get out of the water or swim with it because you can’t swim against it and nobody is abandoning ship. Unstoppable and unmissable. Obviously the audience were in a frenzy and danced, slammed and jostled throughout the set. The Blissetts certainly kicked some arse and hopefully some folk will be inspired to get involved in trying to change some of the negative situations in our world today.  A great finish to a great day.

So major thank you’s to ALL at The Gathering, all the bands, everyone for turning out and EVERYONE who helped Punk 4 The Homeless have a great day and raise some dosh for street children. Well done to the chap from Brocker who ended up at the bottom of a huge pile of ageing punks and never spilt a drop of his beer. Also to the 63 year old local man who never stopped dancing, I appreciated your enthusiasm if not your sweat. the lone Sutton Bridge punk who was enthusiastically moshing, singing and being a splendid chap all day - don’t worry - WE WILL BE BACK.

Also to show our appreciation – WE HAVE AN ALBUM ON US:-

review by Gary Eagling (20 October 2012)