This is the first gig at the new venue in Carlisle.   The Club is an old working men’s club that went bust a while ago and my brother Martin sold his pizza shop to buy and renovate the place.  It has 2 floors and a basement that was a snooker room,  the snooker table is long gone and Martin was easily persuaded that it would be a decent venue for underdog punk rock bands to play. The main bar is on the first floor but there is a small bar in the basement that had been unused until I sampled the first pint tonight. So my mate Dougy and I set the gig up and Chris from Gimp Fist designed the flyers that we posted around the sprawling metropolis that is Carlisle and Geeza followed suit in Penrith.

Last Rough Cause turned up early doors and I was heartened to hear them say that the basement would be ok as I was a bit worried at the size of it. The Scabs turned up and set about setting up the gear and also confirmed the venue to be ok.  Last Rough Cause kicked off the night with an excellent set of very tuneful Oi.  I’ll not pretend to having heard a great deal of their music apart from on their myspace site before tonight but that’s been my loss because they played a quality set starting with ‘Violent Few’.  They and the punters all seemed to have a great time - I know I enjoyed it with the stand out track being ‘Category C’.  Check them out at  - if like me you've missed out over the years they have plenty of history as they first formed in 83 when Oi music was in its infancy.

The Scabs hit the floor next with new bassist Nigel who some may recognise as he's lead vocals with Cumbrian veteran punkers Distortion. This was The Scabs first gig for a while since Mike the previous bassist left but you wouldn’t know it as it was all systems go from the first note of ‘This Is England’.   They played a great set of snarling punk rock taken from their three cd's with ‘Sick Society’, ‘Bully Boys’, ‘Bastard’ and ‘Stalke’r a brilliant quartet in the middle of the set that had the punters singing along in appreciation.  ‘Stalker’ is a classic and stands with any punk song in my opinion.  A great set like they had never been away.

Next up Gimp Fist who are a favourite band of mine and there is not a better band on the scene at the minute than these north eastern Oi boys.  If Blitz dropped the streetpunk baton when they split these lads have picked it up and mixed it with a real social conscience to produce some of the best Oi music you will hear. They kicked off with a cover of ‘Ultra Violence’ by The Oppressed then blazed into a quality set that had the punx and skins begging for more. These lads have got the mix just right - their own songs are so well written and played and they throw in so many good covers from early Oi and ska to have old stagers like me and young lads like my boy Matt lapping it up. They and the crowd were having a great time and even when they started to flag a bit the crowd kept them going.  A cover of ‘I’m An Upstart’ sandwiched between the brilliant ‘Whatever Happened’ and ‘Don’t Wanna Be Like You’ and  ‘One Life’ surely there’s not a better Oi song than this and they finished off with ‘Heart Full Of Pride’.   A great night of punk and Oi thanks to three great bands. I’ve already booked The Scabs for 11th July with Ill Fated Riot and Wild Trash and hopefully will get Last Rough Cause and Gimp Fist back again this year. Our next gig is Friday 22nd May at St Bedes Club,  Silloth Street, Carlisle with The City Kids, No Thrills and Resistance 77 only £5.  Be there!

review by Dave Bell (19 April 2009)