Due to trying to keep things fresh as regards what I view, my visits lately to The Thatched House have been rather sporadic to say the least. Add to this the veritable hot bed of music that is Manchester and you find every gig you attend is conflicting with an equally tempting showcase. Tonight however the only gig clash was with SLF in town which void of any allure and riduculously overpriced for a band past their 'punk by date'. How this gig would effect tonight's turn out would be interesting as I had done a fair bit of flyering for landlord Banjo and not encountered any promotional material for the SLF gig.

I got to the Thatched at 7.30pm with GBH just soundchecking. It didn't sound too bad at all so why the later acoustic fuck-ups is beyond me.

A band known as The Systematics kicked the gig off and mixed less pacy melodies with the occasional power riffs whereupon all members worked together and hit a few surging heights. This inital viewing was adequate enough but throughout I was constantly questioning myself as to how this band would sound on CD. I feel as though the true sprog of sound hadn't been born yet and at this stage we awere just watching the waters break, awaiting the birth of a capable band. Some good tunes, some mediocre moments and some crackerjack high energy bursts, particularly the finale. The verdict is of a band to watch and a forthcoming CD that offers much.

Next Mangled, an outfit whose reputation preceded them with good vibes aplently coming my way. Even to the most undiscerning punter it was mighty obvious that this was a well versed punk band that place importance on pumping out bog standard punk at its robust, basic best. Potentially a solid set but the sound volumes were way to high and what promised to be a sinewy showing of strength and meaty rhythm became a reverberating cacophony of constipated noise. A real shame but towards the end with lower sonic levels Mangled started to shine and a glimpse of their true ability was had. Definitely worth more viewing and again a CD release promises much.

BillyClub next, and a band I rate as one of the best in the land. The last three gigs they have played locally I have missed (head hung in shame) through one thing and several others but the wait had been worth it. What a fuckin' marvellous outfit and with my natural history leanings I would best describe this bang and boom band as a flowering teasel plant. Proud, upright and in glorious full blossom to be eye catching but spiny and spiky enough to keep your ears open in case you get aurally razored by a deluge of decibels. Believe me this is a top class bunch and the power and venom is obvious but it never overshadows the fact that we have here 4 great musicians triumphant in a togetherness of noise. '747', 'Surf', 'Smash It Up', '3 Little Pigs' and the gargantuan epic 'I Saw God' are a snippet of quality from a gloriously classy set. Amazing!

Lastly GBH and this was by no means a classic and in truth was a stuttering performance that sparked into action every now and again but failed to blaze any sort of trail. Frontman Colin seemed on the cusp of inebriation and the occasionl equipment mishap and, once again, unconvincing sound, didn't help the cause. I spoke to several knowledgeable punters between songs and all were of the same opinion that for GBH it just wasn't happening tonight. Best song I suppose was 'Generals' with The Clash cover 'White Riot' crap. To be honest by this point interest had gone so the judgement may be a trifle harsh but there you go. A shame really because GBH should, after nearly 30 years, be a much more organised unit capable of ramming out top notch performance after top notch performance. Hey Ho!

Chats and farewells and a few final sales of the Split Bits CD (23 sold tonight in total - making a profit of £11.50 - aaaagghh) and off home. A very late finish indeed to what was in truth not a bad night. Decent turn-out, a few different faces and some good stuff to ponder - now to the next one.

Going back to the Split Bits sales - a big thank you to all who bought a copy, your support is much appreciated. Like I always say if we can't support the underdog the scene is fucked so once again thanks. Oh, and if you think the £11.50 is going in my own sky rocket, think again, the 4 bands on the CD get 20 copies each so post and packaging puts paid to me contemplating a nest egg ha, ha. Punk not Profit - la, la, la, la, la - now where have I heard that song? Answers on a postcard to OMD.....

review by OMD (16 March 2008)