After another busy weekend on the mushroom trail I was looking forward to another That's Not Skanking presentation at Joshua Brookes with a few familiar bands on show at what is a pretty fine venue.

Chitchats with faces and half a coke (the drink that is) and first band up were Section 47. Still in their infancy as a band I had previously seen this outfit twice before with the first outing being woeful and the second showing promising improvement but still a little way short of a fully functioning outfit. Adam the lead guy had been pecking my head about getting 'my hairy arse' down to see them as they wanted to display their revitalised set. Well, in truth the upward curve continues and this performance showed a dramatic improvement in sound and on-stage confidence. The band looked more settled as a unit and each and every song had some mighty fine moments of heavy guitar work and holistic sound. True - there were an abundance of weak areas that the critical can pounce upon and use as ammunition to shoot this band down but I won't have that. This time the frequent slack occurences were outdone by the numerous solid episodes and I for one quite enjoyed this. There is work still to be done but this was enjoyable, melodic and bursting with untapped potential. There are some good songs here that need a few teaks and twangs but its getting there and thats all what matters. More rehearsals, more gigs, a bit more on-stage confidence and more attention to detail and Section 47 can only go from strength to strength. Overall a good effort.

Next The John Player Specials an outfit I had seen once before and one who impressed me quite mightily. This was another crackin' set despite the singer indulging in a few snifters of wine beforehand. The cultured, melodic approach was superbly delivered and every song was dealt out with an enjoyable radiance and precocious efficiency that left the crowd spellbound. The songs are constructed well and are more lengthy than what I am used to on the punk smash and thrash circuit. This however was most welcome and two which stood out were 'Bad Town Melodies', a tale of my hometown Wigan but seemingly no mention of the pies, and the choice 'Knocking On Wood' the best of the night from a set that emanated sheer class and attention to detail. This is cultured ska but mighty infectious and the bass playing skill, the steady and rock solid drumming combined with a likeable frontguy who rattled off the upstrokes was a true joy. Can't fault it really and the apologies for being a bit 'blotto' were totally unnecessary.

A couple of pints of Strongbow were had during the next two bands which were as enjoyble as what had preceeded them. The Kirks hailing from Macclesfield have certainly put their time in on the pub and toilet circuit and tonights display was evidence of a hardworking band who refuse to lie down and eat shit. It seems like years ago now (which indeed it is) that I first saw these young upstarts strut their stuff and I claimed afterward for all to hear that it was truly a 'Shite performance'. Ha ha bigotted bastard or what? But that was what I felt at the time but as the years have rolled by The Kirks have improved dramatically and tonight (despite a few equipment blips and the very rare bum note) this was the best yet and a masterclass in high octane, epileptic music that was played with a spirited assault of noisy enthusiasm. 'State Of Emergency', 'Rats', and the finale of 'Over The Top' along with the Motorhead cover of 'Ace Of Spades' all well and truly rocked the joint and the crowd responded appropriately. I thoroughly enjoyed it and hope they can maintain this high standard consistently and set about recording a second album better than their first of which I am not a fan (but am all set to be proved wrong again).

And lastly Harijan. An established band who are not the hardest gigging band in the world but it seems go in for quality rather than quantity. With a couple of Fractions thrown in this seven piece outfit (which soon became six after Ewan's departure) really finished the evenings entertainment on a high with the crowd well up for it and chanting the bands name incessantly between songs. The vibe Harijan created in the gaff was quite remarkable and each and every one of the crowd lapped up this skanking set with gleeful joy. The jigging commenced and it was a merry place to be with this fine music rattling the rafters. A great gig this and a fitting finale and off I went as the clock struck 11pm and was more than happy with what I had witnessed.

The TNS lads are doing a good job here at a fine venue so get yer arses to the next one and enjoy some real good live music for a quid or two.

review by OMD (5 November 2007)