Up to the Witchwood for the first time in ages and what a great night seemed in store. 4 good bands at the best venue in Britain (yes you heard me) and some good conversation to be had. The crowd (or lack of) was fuckin' appalling and one must ask where were the usual faces and the so called punks? Oh I forgot Eastenders is on Thursdays isn't it - twats!

Anyway after brief salutations and refreshments it was round the back to see One Man Stand open up proceedings. Now the law of averages states that if a band keep improving and playing good gig after good gig they will eventually throw up an absolute shitter. Please forgive me if I tell you that tonight I expected such a disaster. Well OMD me ole' china you were wrong.

Yeah it's true - this talented trio set about another excellent set and if I'm not mistaken was their best this year so far. Well rehearsed and with a confident edge and a self belief that was so alarmingly missing this lot go from strength to strength. 'Black Hole', 'You Can't Polish Shit' (I wouldn't want to try) and an un-named new one were three juicy coconuts in a shie of delicious fruits. My, my what a cracking set and this really set a high standard for the night. Nice lads these lot as well and despite Noz' inklings towards gay eskimoes you can't help but wish them well earned success on their arduous punk travels. With me they get the big fluffy teddy everytime - excellento.

Next a band called the Steroid Kiddies who last played the Manchester area in 484 BC when punk crowds were crowds. Anyway centuries on and this 4-piece certainly weren't kids and if they have been buying and using steroids they ain't working. If they haven't practiced since the aforementioned date then this isn't evident because these 4 elderley statesmen looked more than comfortable on stage as they set about their routine. The start was excellent and some good riffs and rthythms were pumped out with impressive aplomb. The set did tail off from the middle onwards and I wasn't sure if this was ring rust or bad sequencing of material. Anyhow my end opinion was of a decent band who have one or two good tunes but which may not win as many friends on the punk circuit as they could elsewhere. Like I said I enjoyed the first half better than the second but thats how it goes - next time it could all be shit or all be good but this lot are definitely worth more viewings.

The Kirks bounced up next with that youthful spunk some of us seem to only have as a distant memory. Especially the ones at home watching the soaps. Anyway as busy as a houseproud gay on prozac these buzzing bellowers produced their rap and rumble set with expected assuredness and really set a few feet a' tappin'. 'Over The Top' and 'Time For A Riot' are pure excellence and frontman Max is a top performer who is happy at centre stage. This geezer's antics though shouldn't detract from 3 accomplished musicians who contribute more than their share to an ever improving band. One criticism is that several songs are too complex for their own good and as several members of the crowd strayed I feel a few more basic punk ditties thrown in would have kept the buggers rooted. Even I drift of during some of the over-technical stuff so I feel validated in my criticism - either that or I'm just a fussy twat.

Lastly The Vibrators and despite starting slowly and with the sound struggling to get going, after 4 or five numbers all was well and the Vibes were in full flow rattling off one quality number after another. What a fuckin' great outfit this band is and what a great repertoire of songs they have. 'Automatic Lover' opened as is per usual and the usual faves were there but for me 'Your Love Is Fading Away' was the pick. Covers of 'Rip Up The City', 'White Riot' and 'Sheena Is A Punk Rocker' were thrown in to push their new album and 'Whips and Furs' was another memorable moment but this was one roller coaster ride that just went skyward. These guys have done the rounds and know their stuff and this smacked of experience. Never a bad one with this trio and the crowd was an insult to say the least. As was the shenanighans with the blow-up sheep that seemed more entertaining than the band to some which was a bad show all round. I don't blame anyone for having a few beer orientated laughs and drinking from the anus of a farm animal is surely a must - but whilst a band are playing (and a quality band at that)? Mmmmmm - I think not.

Anyway the evening was a stunner and Mr Lillis of Ageless Chaps gave us another good night. The bands were all good and deserve their rewards but a few more punters wouldn't go amiss. 30 years of punk rock and attendances seem at an all time low - wake up arseholes - this is your future.

review by OMD (1st December 2006)