For some reason I was quite hopeful that the next Fungalskapunka night at The Dog and Partridge in Bolton would be a small success and build on the first two efforts.  Another mixed bag was planned and despite a late pull out the gig was still a quintet of quality outfits.

Arriving at the venue I was met by a quiet gaff and set about having a natter with the bands present about various music themes one of which was the current shitty state of the scene and the frustrating clique makers, and dwellers, therein.  Gear was eventually sorted and the punters stayed away which in some ways again highlights the safe sedentary nature of your fickle punk and ska rock fan.  A shame really because this was going to be a good showcase of how diverse the genre actually is.

Anyway, trying to maintain an optimism me and my good lady watched the sound checks and were again left impressed by the excellent noise in the gaff.  Top PA guy Andy was again working his magic and Flat Back Four were the first outfit to glow in the acoustic soundscape.

Always a steady band and as reliable as a promoter could wish for this lot thumped out a grand opening performance worthy of a far better crowd than the paltry few that were in attendance tonight.  The fill-in bass man did a sterling job and gave frontman Steve a bit more space in which to work his own musical magic.  Opening with the excellent ‘Share The Wealth’ the highs in this set were coming thick and fast with ten top notch tunes delivered in razor sharp style.  ‘Jeff’s Rock Night’ is always a pleasure and the closing 3 tracks of ‘Thatto Heath’, ‘English Civil War’ and ‘Psalm 23’ were unashamedly glorious.  Thanks to the band for filling in at such short notice and next stop Halifax next week.

More chattering and news of bands playing in other areas to equally wank crowds just filled my head with wretched thoughts regarding the total ignorance of punters as to how crammed with talent the live music scene actually is.  You can’t even give away live music never mind charge for it.  Crazy and desperately bewildering!  Music fans – my arse – lovers of the safety net hanging around in friend-filled circles with music as a convenient sideline and talking point – wankers!

Enough of the vitriol and to None Of Your Fuckin’ Business.  Sorry, this is the bands name and not me spitting venom again!  Anyway this was a decent comedic affair that kept the slightly increased crowd entertained with crude, lewd humour of the most inane kind.  The frontguy seemed a hybridised clone of Arturo Bassick and Max Splodge and kept up a cheeky chappy routine throughout much to the pleasure of the punters.  Obviously this is not to everyone’s taste and if this lot don’t watch out the act will very soon become stale.  To keep the band justifiable I suggest a good turn-around of songs and to try and build up a large repertoire of these vulgar ditties.  I enjoyed it and ‘Two Little Boys’, ‘Beadles Not About Anymore’ and some filthy offering about using ‘my arsehole as a cunt’ were the pick. 

The most anticipated band of the night for me were The Steady Boys, a skanking skinbo crew highly rated by the most pernickety punkers.   This was a true treat for me and a mesmerising performance that I lapped up with glee.  Well organised and with a subtle timing this pedigree outfit intertwined more orthodox ska with some punked-up melodies and turned several heads in the miniscule crowd.  One of the best functioning units I have seen knock out this kind of stuff and ‘Rewind The Mess’ would be a solid choice for track of the set.  They slipped in two covers along the way, namely The Clashes’ ‘White Man In Hammersmith Palais’ and The Specials’ ‘Rat Race’ both of which were dished out with unique and effective excellence.  A thoroughly great inclusion to the nights gig.

Localish boys next in the form of The Bullet Kings whose sometimes overuse of orthoodox riffology seems destined to be a crowd pleaser but quite often fails to produce the deserved applause.  Baffling really as all the tunes the BK’s dish out are easily listenable and packed with ‘pick up and pogo’ melodies.  This was a very good set indeed and perhaps one of the best and I found myself losing concentration on several occasions due to knowing the songs too well.  A bizarre statement but precisely true as these uncomplicated songs took little difficulty in assessing tonight.  I suspect I am a bit BK’d out and need to take a step back from this crew and re-evaluate, but in truth I still think I would be hard pushed to find any faults.  At this point a real feeling of disgust hit me when I dwelt on the fact that here was a damn fine band on a local patch unable to pull anyone at all when covers bands are travelling around attracting sizeable crowds to listen to their fraudulent garbage.  Absolutely fuckin’ shit as far as I am concerned and highlighting a major problem with today’s music scene.  A total loss methinks because in the right time era this lot could have done some permanent damage.  The pick of the crop – gotta be ‘My Country’ – a real anthemic masterpiece and by far and away the BK’s best song to date. 

Outside to get my head together and a quick talking to myself and back in to see No Eager Men close the show in unfussy, no-nonsense, 3 chord style.  I have seen this lot on several occasions and they played a recent gig for me in Bradford and the light, heady, charming songs have found a favourable spot in my heart and so a little bit of help in the right direction I feel wouldn’t go amiss. This was good and despite being thrown in at the deep end, headlining some quality bands, this 3-piece gave a good account of themselves and pleased the crowd no end.  A few dud songs need ousting from the set and the real gems polishing up a bit before No Eager Men really make any strides but I thought this was a real good do and can see the improvement being made.  The SLF cover of ‘At The Edge’ is a peach and the finale of ‘I’m Bored’, the best song in the repertoire, is perfectly positioned as a closing burst.  The job’s a good un’.

Well, 5 good bands for free and the fuckers still won’t travel whatever distance to view.  The one’s who did turn up all enjoyed it and that seems a usual scenario of late. Fuck it.

Disgusted, downbeat and feeling as though I had let everyone concerned down I fucked off home with my missus knowing only too well that 90% of the people I meet on my musical travels wouldn’t know what punk rock is if it blew their fuckin’ balls off.

Impressed and depressed at the same time and all for no profit – was that an utterance of ‘madness’ I heard.  Wrong – it’s passion fuckers!


Review by Fungalpunk/OMD - (20 April 2008)