To be arsed or not to be arsed - that is the question regarding tonight’s gig.  As busy as ever with a backlog of punk and wildlife stuff to catch up on I decided to 'fuck it' and go to a gig that seemed to potentially have a problem pulling a crowd.  A Tuesday night in Stockport with little publicity on the main social sites I decided someone had better shift their arse to give bands at least one person to play to.  The turn out transpired to be around the 40 mark which I reckon isn't good but not as disastrous as it could have been.  A few faces were in attendance so chits and chats as per usual were had with a few 'erberts asking if I am doing any gigs in the immediate future and the answer still being a resounding 'no'!
So to the first band of the night and a new one for me namely, Brigada Mercy.  Not bad at all with a folky mix drifting in and out of punkier moments and occasionally giving glimpses of skank and a few other nebulous flavours.  The band seemed settled enough for only a short time together and they received good feedback as regards their output.  When the pace was picked up somewhat the band thrived more and towards the end a greater imprint was being had in the minds of the onlookers.  I would have to check them out again to be honest and also get more familiar with their expulsions so as to give a more detailed account but at this point in time no real complaints.  The only advice I would offer is that the saxophonist dance a little more, the bassist exaggerate his nimble playing and the band do a few 'all together now' instrumental pieces where they line up and play in unison.  Just little things that may help the end presentation even more and as a reviewer as usual I am trying to provoke a band into ever improving their lot.  In truth though no real complaints and worthy of many more viewings.
Punchdrunx next and I really didn't know what to expect here.  A couple of ex-members of Stuntface when the crew were at a stunning pinnacle gave promise but I still wasn't expecting a set of 75% cover tunes.  Now then, anyone who knows me will realise I just don't like cover bands and rather see outfits dish out their own original material.  Having said that I do realise that there is a place for this style of outfit and also realise that it is always worthwhile that any band should have a few covers in their armoury so as to please more punters and catch more interest.  Anyway, with that in mind read on and realise how well Punchdrunx must have delivered their stuff for me to give them a resounding thumbs up.  The band applied themselves with zeal and convincing energy and even the musical imitations that I didn't like were still noteworthy due to the bands eager application.  The songs that stood out were in fact the bands own constructions which gave promise of many more to come with plenty of bollocks and ear-ensnaring riffage.  I think there were 5 songs in total penned by this  Welsh 4 piece and I enjoyed the lot and why I didn't pick up a demo is beyond me - such is the state of Fungals over-worked head at the mo.  Cover wise, well The Exploited's 'Dead Cities' was a crackin' opener, 'Alternative' by the same crew was effective but the best of the lot was a version of 'Too Drunk To Fuck' which was delivered with accuracy and spellbinding efficiency.  A good enjoyable set and all I can say is keep the best covers in there and get writing you lazy set of twats.  Well played.
The Real McKenzies played on a gig I organised a few years ago as Banjo the landlord squeezed em' on at the latter end of a SAS day where 999 where also slotted on.  In truth I was pissed out of my skull by the end of the gig and completely missed this band and only saw two songs of 999.  I could apologise for that but wouldn't mean it so there ya go.  This was a delightful treat for me and from the initial tinkle of 'Nessie' to the final strum this was a darn good set that please all and sundry no end.  The switch from the sweet to the stern was aided by a dramatic instrumental that only lost wind due to an unexpected guitar hitch.  The band are very comfortable with what they do and when the pace was picked up the crowd became enthralled.  What the Real McKenzies do is apply their skill with genuine professionalism and attention to visuals.  Nothing ridiculous or overly fussy - just good musicianship by people who love it is enough to make an impression and this lot certainly did that.  Bagpipes blared, guitars buzzed, the drums beautifully boomed and the frontman held firm with an abundance of quiet confidence.  These guys have been around the block a fair few times and it shows.  Was there a bad tune - well I think not - you tell me!  A class act indeed deserved of a full house but that's how it goes.  The sonic sails billowed tonight with a Canadian breeze oozing spirit - a pleasure.   I missed the encore as I had a lift waiting but had seen enough to satisfy my musical soul.
A good do indeed and another gig under the belt.  Once again my quest to see 50 all time new bands in the year begins again and if the standard stays like this I will be well happy. 

review by OMD (20 January 2010)