I fell in love with The Sumac Centre when I first went there a couple of years ago. Down to earth, scruffy round the edges, good ethics, cheap grub and beer and nobody in it for the money. I am well chuffed that Punk 4 The Homeless now have a monthly gig there. This being the first.

We turn up to set up and sound check before 6 as between 7&8 we have to take a break as the venue run a “peoples kitchen” where folk can get a 2 course vegan meal for a suggested donation of £3.50 (if you can’t afford it you don't pay). The venue starts filling up for this and thankfully the majority didn't leave until after the gig.

So first up Sods Law. A band I hadn't seen for a couple of years, liked them last time and more than impressed this. Stripped down dirty, rough sounding punk rock which has something to say. The band have become much tighter since I last saw them but without losing any of the rough edges, the edges I love so much about some punk rock. With song titles such as “Red and the Black”, “War Puppet” and “England Screams” there is no doubt where they are coming from and saying the sort of things some punk bands have been saying for decades. Long may they continue to do so. Our society is fucking sick and people need to listen. The audience lapped it up. As they should. Well done team Sods Law.

Now on to a quieter mode with Pedagree Strum. Rich Gulag and Katie from Pedagree Skum doing their unplugged set. Rich's punk rock acoustic guitar contrasting and framing Katie's bitter sweet, operatic punk vocals. A match made in heaven (or Stoke-On-Trentshire). Public issues  and personal trials are dealt with intensity. Whispering in somebody’s ear is often  far more effective than shouting in their face. This is the whispering in the ear moment.  Well crafted songs from a punk rock heart with a Zounds cover chucked in to boot. A fine set much appreciated.

The Warm Guns take the stage (floor) next for their second ever gig. A young enthusiastic band who play a tight set of very polished punk rock which veers to the rock. Think Recipe For Hate period Bad Religion with the rockiness  of some Social Distortion combined with youthful zeal and a love for what they are doing and you aren't a million miles off. The Warm Guns are slick with a charm and presence which wins you over. A very active 30 minute set for this 5 piece. Full of energy, full of riffs. High quality product. One to watch out for. Again the audience were appreciative.

After the audiences response to the first three bands I had my concerns about the last  outfit but I will leave it to Jonathon Marriott to tell you about them :-

For me, all contemporary punk bands sit on a spectrum between nostalgic and progressive. I understand the appeal of the three chord 80s sound and enjoy many such bands, however seeing something new and challenging always excites me more. Spitune delivered a sound and atmosphere unlike any that I had heard before with their brand of 'music therapy for adults'. A dirty industrial sound mashed hip hop-esque beats with bassy, murky synthesised tones whilst Eagle and Rachel spoke, shouted and sang venomously over the top. Percussive instruments were handed out and before we even knew it audience members were smashing the floor with mallets, hitting cowbells, rolling pins, beer bottles, metal trays and anything that made a loud bang to the music. It felt like a regression back to memories of primary school music lessons, teamed with the aggressive release that punk music has always provided. The result was euphoric. Spitune are truly without boundaries, progressive, inclusive, energetic and all accepting. It was reminiscent of early Iggy Pop for it's energy with Eagle rolling around smashing a fire extinguisher and the passion that all band members displayed. Doing something so new is always a risk but the audience were encapsulated in the performance. We weren't watching a band, we were in the band. Absolutely fantastic.

Overall an awesome night so us at Punk 4 The Homeless are chuffed with how 2015 is set to plan out (but you never know what is round the corner).We have a home which suits. With good support from the venue and bands. A few thank you's from P4TH and the street children -  All the bands, the venue, the punters, Rachel Eagling for her hard work driving, lugging, doing merch, raffle etc., Stephen Surreal sound guy extraordinaire (and Spitunes music man) Sallie Sherwood and all the rest of the volunteers at The Sumac - Love and respect.

review by Eagle Spits (1 March 2015)