If you want to put a gig on and have a fuckin' good night then in my opinion the four bands strutting their stuff tonight would be hard to beat. The problem is convincing the so-called punk community!

I arrived at Bradfords finest venue with my wife and daughter to be greeted by an almost empty room. Top bloke Max (Landlord) was at the bar on his laptop and seemed in his ever jovial mood. Flat Back Four and Most Likely To Fail were already in attendance and seemed curious as to when the crowd would arrive. Beats me!

Well a crowd of sorts did develop (artistic licence) and The X-Rippers and The Lurkers eventually turned up. The timing now was well out the window but who cares - its punk and you can only do what you do. It seemed that a lowly turn-out was the order of the day so bands were encouraged to just get up, enjoy and play a cracker. Dave from No Eager Men was in attendance tonight and he said the last gig they played here was to one punter who was a friend. With that optimistic news I looked forward to another struggle.

Most Likely To Fail were first up and what can I really say? This is one of the best bands around at the moment who write songs with care and have a lyrical output as good as anything out there. The melodies are spot on and all musicians contribute just perfectly to one fantastic sound. As a promoter and lover of punk it is totally and utterly soul destroying for myself to see such talent and damn fine musicianship just overlooked by a blinkered majority who just want to hear music they are familiar with which doesn't tax their limited mentalities. Tonights set had a host of solid, sing-a-long tunes worthy of any high flying band and Most Likely To Fail must surely move on to better things before long - if not then another punk rock travesty will have taken place. 'Weekend Rebel' is a superb dig at the fakes, 'Innocent Eyes' a masterclass in song composition and 'Most Likley To Fail' a bitter anthem of realism and dogged determination. 'American Jesus' and 'Code Blue' as always were nailed with ease and shouldn't detract from a band who have enough quality material without being reliant on covers. A great start to an expected great evenings entertainment.

Flat Back Four next with a sound that really is hard to categorise. It thumps along in slamming style and with consideration one can pick out an abundance of styles, influences and sounds. The band work well together and are settled in each others company and this comes across with every performance. Cheeky chappie Steve and his winning smile holds fort and the deliverance of all songs reflects practice and conviction. Along with MLTF this is my other fave band of the moment and the two bands just seem to compliment each other perfectly. Again another stunning superfluity of sensational songs that effervesce with energy. 'I Told You I Was Ill', 'Thatto Heath', 'English Civil War', 'The Fallen' and the deliciously optimistic 'Psalm 23' to round off were played with joyous passion and I for one loved it. Don't underestimate this lot as they are a very good band indeed and here's to more of the same.

A change of style next with Barnsley upstarts The Mighty X-Rippers strutting their crowd baiting stuff in fuckin' fine style. Its up front, in yer face and belligerent but really does the business. 'Pistol-Whip A Frenchman' embraces the whole X-ripping flavour with many more antagonistic tunes in tow. 'Rolex', 'Stick Pop Idol Up Your Arse', 'Richard Hillman', 'Who's The Doctor' and the best of the lot, namely 'Jimmy Kelly' were exemplary moments from a crackerjack set. I used to watch this lot quite a bit but with the Barnsley scene going tits-up its been a fair while since I last caught up with them but on this evidence they haven't lost any of the old cheekiness and fun-filled style. 'CID' was covered brilliantly and in truth this was a good X-Rippers performance. Nice lads as well which always goes well with me.

And so without a packed to the rafters gaff and with 3 quality performances over it was left to The Lurkers to round off the nights entertainment. I love this band and dismay at the fact that the scene just seems to overlook what they are actually doing despite the release of several quality albums. In fact the later stuff is far better than the early stuff but the old time-warp trap never lets go and people seem quite happy stuck in it. Disgusting really and I do hope The Lurkers turn a corner soon and start earning respect for some fine song writing and top notch performances. Again tonight the set overflowed with a downpour of quality numbers. 'Jenny', 'Freakshow', 'Shadow', 'There's A New Guitar In Town', 'One Way', 'Go Ahead Punk', 'Rubber Room', 'I'm On Heat', 'Go Sane' and the finale of 'KKK Took My Baby Away' and 'Little Ol' Wine Drinker Me' are just staggering evidence of a real choice band. How these lot don't command bigger crowds is beyond me as the style and approach is instantaneously catchy and enjoyable. The punks hark on about the old stuff and 'It's Not The Original Line-Up' - aaaggghhhhh - just get over it and move on - no it ain't the original line-up - its better. Anyway I fuckin' loved it and so did my wife and daughter and Max said they were fuckin great so what can you ask for?

A great gig missed by so many which is par for the course these days. You can either give in, carrying on being blinkered or enjoy the wide variety of punk out there and kick off the shackles of nostalgia - I know which way I'm going - hope you can make the journey.

review by OMD (21 September 2007)