Up to the Retro Bar for something different and a chance to check out some new bands. I set myself a target every year to see 50 new bands as well as all the other stuff I watch so in order to make that total I needed to squeeze a few more in. 44, 45, 46, and 47 tonight me thinks.

Anyway I sat upstairs reading a mushroom book and until my mate Tim 'Punk4Life' Davies arrived whereupon we had a chinwag about various kinds of bollocks. Not literally you must understand. The gigging room opened at 5.30 (not 4.00 as advertised) and after a brief evacuation (not of the bowels you gutter minded twats) of the building due to a fire alarm going off the first band eventually opened proceedings.

Physical Jerks were very good indeed and set about producing a very pleasant concoction of sound that encapsulated a lovely ska essence without breaking sweat. This was the mild side of ska and is worth checking out as this was a very decent band indeed. I don't know any individual tracks but all in all there wasn't a dud. Musically very efficient but one criticism would be in the presentation. These guys looked a trifle too studious in their approach and if anything need to adopt a more performing aspect to their set. Definitely worth more viewings and worth throwing in the middle of a good old punk gig.

Next it was the turn of Holy Parachute. Very varied with a confident frontman producing some excellent bass riffs and vocal highs that was backed up well by all concerned. The brass section really played well here and the whole ambience of sound was of a choice standard. The crowd was building nicely and for such a small venue the atmosphere was generally good. The ska/funk mix went down well and HP seem destined for a exskallent future with cross-over options into different styles waiting.

Next it was the established Skalinskis who rattled off a tight, well rehearsed set with apparent ease and professionalism. Impeccably melodic and with a retro touch that aided in the general outpouring this was a joy. This genre is definitely not my bag but tonight was turning into a unexpected pleasure. This lot are obviously one of the top Ska bands around at the moment and I'm sure will be doing well on their rounds.

Lastly for me it was Anonymous Tip who set about a rip roaring set that really uppped the tempo of the whole evening. The front guys gusto and zeal was excellently delivered and really got the crowd going. Despite an amazing start that lasted 4 or 5 songs the set dipped dramatically and levelled out on a lower stage that took the edge off a good performance. With a more deliberate strategy in song arrangement and a better mix of fast/slow numbers this lot could vastly improve the said performance. Having said that though this was still very good and all musicians were worthy of note.

Ska-ed out and in need of some sleep after yet another busy weekend I left the building and awaited my pre-arranged lift home happy in the knowledge that the Ska scene seems full of talent. 48, 49, and 50 - where are you.

review by OMD (26 November 2006)