Being of a punk attitude inspires an urge to seek freshness and to not be restricted by predictability. Many gigs were going on tonight of which many punters would suggest I would be at. Wrong! I go where I feel the crowd will be least favourable and where my desire to hear new noise will be satiated. Fuck social scenes and all that tiresome claptrap!  And so it was a trip to Academy 3 for a Surface Unsigned night that was a real mix and match affair - loverly! Of course the chances are I would be one of the oldest 'erberts in the gaff and this was indeed the case although Tim 'Punk4Life' Davies decided to join me on this toot at tuneage and he is a couple of months older than me - fuckin' aged cunt!

So £9 on the door and £3 a tin hardly helped me maintain my pisspot persona but this wasn't about jumping on board the HMS Bender and more about viewing new material.

The Academy 3 is the best of the Academy venues and the last time I was inside was with a gutful of sherry whilst jumping around to the UK Subs. That was a grand night and I hoped this would be just as interesting albeit in a different way.

So a favourable crowd arrived and the first band were introduced. I ain't going to go on too much here but just do a quick assessment and hopefully give a flavour of the night’s outpourings.

DC66 were touted as pop punk and bordered on that very sub-generic pool with decent musicianship and adequate song construction. I prefer pop punk to be quirky, jerky fast blasts and this was the case with only two songs tonight. Shame really but one can't have everything. Initial impressions of this band were that they had a pliability of sound that could be easily moulded and made to be more 'consumable' for the gullible mad parade. Punk wise it left a lot to be desired but other than that it was a fairly decent start. Stage presence needs working on but in such a spacious venue with room for many more onlookers the crew applied themselves to the task in hand and gave a sturdy account of themselves. In parts the day became green in others an individual edge was tapped. The singer held his own and was backed by a fair outfit and in truth I would check these out again so as to give a sharper insight.

Harvest The Sun came next and brought a fair crowd who lapped up the hardcore energy fluid this outfit pissed forth. A thirsty lot for sure (yeah and 3 nuggets for a can I understand why) the crowd responded to this aural oblivion in fine style with a pit catching fire and adding to the sonic flames. These acoustic arsonists were, to put it bluntly, 'tight as fuck' and wouldn't be out of place on a gig with such outfits as The Mongoloids, Paint It Black, Fucked Up and the like. Visually it was a black dress affair and didn't really cut it with me. My hardcore style is pelted forth via ragbag 'erberts such as Mafafi, The Day Man Lost etc. Never mind and I think across the pond is where this outfit would find favour within the punk circuits. Over here - no way but within the metal movement then of course.  Enjoyable nonetheless.

Severed Heaven were an all girl outfit but if you closed your eyes and took a sip of your ale the taste would surely be tainted with testosterone. A mighty noise for such lovely ladies and getting a small contingent of headbanging mopheads really in the zone. They worked hard and stuck to basics but despite looking the part came out as Fungal's worst band of the night. Too repetitive and sorely not my bag but credit still given for the brutality of sound and the effort of getting up and having a go. Metalheads chase up, the rest - forget it.

Deadly Inscription came from Jockland and gave a more traditional heavy metal assault with a young Gordon Strachan look-alike leading the charge. Best band so far for me with the mix of melody and mayhem beautifully emboldened with rocking riffology. If these guys are ever in town again then of course I would have another peek and wish them well in all their efforts. The crowd were won over with little vocal effort due to the music having persuasion aplenty. How the band break through into bigger waters is beyond me but thankfully that ain't my problem. I just like underdog shit smeared over the soles of my lugs and this was a nice mess to stink along with.

Underclass had a solid indie sound with a frontman who could sing but seemed rather nervous tonight. Nevertheless looking beyond the rather edgy delivery this was the outfit I deemed would be most suitable to win this event as the general appeal is obviously there and a distinct pigeonhole avoided. Basically this can be parcelled and packaged into processed bullshit by the hands of many corrupt and misdirected muso-morons and so I expect this crew to progress. It would be a shame if the band got further and ended up so rearranged so as to become another 'pop band' but that is the music business and the scent of money and fame can do strange things. Away from all this though I enjoyed the sound and thought it had enough bite to transcend genres. Again a million miles from punk rock but didn't stop me having an appreciation.

Finally Midnight Valentino, a band that had alternative essences and many unpredictable turns. In places it worked, in others it passed me by and yet the crowd responded with zeal. I liked the awkwardness of the sonica but at times felt a sour taste but such is the risk of watching new bands who come from angles beyond my usual arena. No complaints and the lady who was introducing all acts got up, did her bit and closed the show.

I couldn't be bothered to hang around for the results as a certain flimsiness to proceedings seemed evident and I needed to get off anyway. In truth an enjoyable night and I reckon I'll be popping to another real soon. Like I say I couldn't give a flying fuck who wins as long as the bands are having a good time, making new fans and are encouraged to just keep on playing. It's all music, it matters and you shouldn't be restricted.

OI, OI - fuck off and keep mooching ya twats.


review by OMD (26th March 2008)