Acoustic Punx and Poets is a monthly do (usually the last Saturday of each month). Tonight’s gig is outside due to a double booking of the room. The gig is totally DIY from start to finish. With P.A. belonging to Stephen Skum from Unune, Spitune and P4TH. Tonight’s event takes place in a small courtyard lit by Spitunes projector it overflows into a garage as the evening gets slightly busier. Real garage music with no bullshit (detector). The acts probably wouldn't all fit into the punk genre musically but it is that old fashioned DIY punk attitude and a desire to help street kids which unites them. The atmosphere is friendly, the vibes are sweet and the beer is cheap. The poets are scarce tonight but the evening kicks off around 7’ish with some ranting from yours truly, some compassionate prose from Rachel Joy Eagling and some dark psycho-politico verse from Stephen Skum.
Rich Gulag armed with acoustic guitar, a handful of anarcho inspired tunes about beauty being in the eye of the beholder, not wanting idiots destroying the scene through fighting, and equality. Rich's attitude and concerns are spot on and his commitment is second to none. Confrontational (in all the right ways), angular and stripped down. Anarcho punk strummed, shouted and thoughtful. Fucking sorted.

Solomon Smith acoustic guitar and assertive vocal control is joined on-stage (under the gazebo) by Matthew Thomas on bass and Rafiki from the Highness Sound System on an African drum (I don't need to point out I am showing my ignorance, so why do it?) . They gel and blend together to make some tuneage which got folk dancing. In the groove and glorious. At times it felt like Strummers Street Core album, at others a blues groove thang, at others slightly Mano Chau. Whilst retaining a uniqueness and its own personality throughout. The band finished with a cover of Camper Van Beethoven's 'Take the Skinheads Bowling' sweet, sweet music. Lovely attitude, vibes and smiles.

Spitune attack the audience next. Tonight Spitune are Eagle Spits on vocals, clanking and fire extinguisher, Rachel Joy on vocals and shaky thing, Dwane Reads on drums and Stephen Skum on bass, laptop and projector with musical arrangements by Stephen Skum. Hate em' or fucking hate them Spitune don't care. Anarcho. Industrial, dub, punk with Kraut rock influences and experimentation. Boris remains a twat.

Joe Paris, one armed acoustic guitar playing with abstract surrealist songs which leave you confused but sated. A wry humour and a sweetness in an off kilter, later Scott Walker kind of way. Some drunk from a function in the pub back room was abusing him/us through the toilet window. Joe handled this professionally and the quick thinking Stephen Skum turned the high voltage, massive bulbed, projector on the said abuser. Sod off or be blinded. A wise choice was made and Joe Paris continued. The attendees were transfixed by the set. A good time then time for another Joe.

Joe Coombs came armed with an acoustic guitar and two songs. The rest of his set was made up on the spot. The toilet abuser got serenaded. Bath night was incorporated into song whilst Joe waxed lyrical. Acoustic punk ad-lib and why not. The guitar sound of Patrick Fitzgerald and quick witted song writing were revelled in. Nice one chap now write a song about, err.

Sewer Rats treat us to some stoner metal blues of an intense variety. Grit the teeth, relax, grit the teeth, relax, get the picture? Intense threesome. Heavy, heavy blues. In the groove again but a driven groove. A young band who make an impression tonight. Musicianship of a high order. A twitching body of tightness sucking you in. Relax its only paranoia. Of a slick, metal edged, grungy variety.

Rum Direction, Benny Hill's song book and an acoustic punk guitar. Irreverent as you like, fuck he's funny. Songs about not being allowed into Weatherspoons because you are wearing trainers “they wouldn't entertain us”, to women with large vaginas “wizards sleeve”. It ain't big and it ain’t funny but obviously it is, as evidenced from the raucous laughter coming from the small audience. Crude? Yes, amusing?, highly, P.C?, never. Keep going lad, keep making people laugh. Its good for the heart.

Pegefo & Marita Metelia treat us to some of the most beautiful music ever. There are twisted love songs, songs to break your heart and songs to warm your soul. Acoustic gentleness of two lovers performing for the love of the music, love of each other and just love. The chemistry is incredible. In the words of Stephen Skum it’s like “a blue movie without the sex”. There are harmonies and hooks which can capture your mind forever. Songs you will not stop singing this side of eternity. Their first number about suicide was haunting as was their song about Death Row 'We All Make Bad Choices'. 'Your The Latest Thing' sang to the latest love about not thinking too highly as a lot of 'Trains Have Come Right Through' and 'I Don’t Wanna Go To Bed Tonight' about spending time with your loved one. Awesome set of beauty which my head at this very moment is sending to my lips. Supernal!

So another eclectic evening of quality music, friendly atmosphere and a little dosh and awareness raised for Casa Alianza and their work with street children. “kick the darkness til it bleeds daylight” (Bruce Cockburn) because “Stopping cops killing kids is punk rock”.  Thanx to all the P4TH crew, to all the acts who played and hung around. Thanx to the punters old and new. Thanx to The Foresters bar staff who are an essential part of what we do and always go the extra mile. Thanx 4 the love.

review by Gary Eagling (17 Aug 2014)