What a weekend!  With the struggle on Friday just scraping by, albeit poorly on the turn out front, Saturday held its own surprises with the gig at Bradford being pulled and Suspicious Stains pulling out on the Sunday SAS gig due to illness.  The day of the gig under review had my little un’ unable to do her Karate grades due to tonsillitis and our car doing a Mary Millington impression by getting rammed up the rear, although it was unintentional in this instance.  Tired, frustrated and in no mood to piss about I entered  The Joshua Brookes in trepidation after making a quick visit to Kwik Save for some light refreshments (well the 2 bottles I bought didn’t seem that heavy).

Backdrops up, drums set and chit chats, and payments to bands the sound check was dealt with in no nonsense style by AFS and after several bevies the Arthritic Foot Soldiers were away.  One of the best bands around at the moment this was another fuckin’ belter with the only blemish being the volume of the bass for the first 3 tracks.  The reason why this band is so good is obvious – each member knows his trade and the songs are sharp and instantaneously catchy.  ‘Minimum Wage’, ‘God Squad’, ‘AFS Anthem’, ‘Nobodies’ and ‘Guns For Oil’ as well as the recently included ‘Dead Men Walking’ are massive examples of great punk rock songs that drip with a simplistic essence and spiteful edge.  Why this band isn’t pulling more punters and enjoying greater success is  blatantly apparent.  Refusing to join any cliques and too much of a threat to a main band seem good reasons to me and anyone who hasn’t seen this lot is really missing out.  A cracking start.

Next the joyous youth of Roadkill was fantastic and this was just one great set.  The buzz these lads got from this was obvious and from first to last the enthusiasm and excellent attitude carried them through.  From first seeing these guys I have always been impressed and their attention to detail and approachable personality will serve them well.  A few minor blips were well dealt with and the performance was their best I’d witnessed.  Get into the studio lads!

The Guilty Pleasures paid the price of my drinking nonsense as I missed 3 quarters of the set trying to get my head back together (silly bastard).  However the last four tracks that I did catch were pretty well delivered and thrived in the acoustic ambience of this fine venue.  Always enjoyable the GP’s deserve more and their willingness to play to varied audiences will eventually produce the good fortune expected.

The Scabs are one of my personal faves and with a good frontman in Geeza they really produce the basic punk rock flavour one tries hard to seek out.  This wasn’t the best as Geeza fell victim to the perils of sherry indulgence and a dodgy mike that kept un-attaching itself.  Having said that the band stayed steady and kept the vocalist on track with a fair performance had.  ‘Stalker’ was today’s pick with ‘Dead End Dave’ another high but the Scabs have more to come and are truly worth everyone’s attention.

Due to a load of late pull-outs I chanced my arm with 2 Sick Monkeys as main support despite never having seen or heard them before.  After several chats with the lads the attitude seemed apt so why not indeed?  By jove what a grand risk!  This was awesome and really rocked the joint to its core.  With only a drummer and a singing bassist this really was a powerful onslaught that varied its tempo to a tee and was as polished performance as you could wish to see.  Like I said I don’t know any particular song but in truth I would be hard pushed to find a bad un’.  A class last minute substitute that scored that elusive winner.  David Fairclough eat your heart out!  Brilliant.

Lastly The Bullet Kings who dealt out their second class performance in 3 days with a montage of sing-a-long melodies that just seem to grow from within.  Andy Subs on drums is growing in stature all the time and if he keeps up the regular Stella abuse this may become physical as well.  Seriously though what a great outpouring this sticks-man produced with focused energy and a light sprinkling of showmanship for all to admire.  Wilf was ridiculously natural and has really adopted the frontman/bassist role with genuine talent and honest hardwork.  Carl the guitar maestro was his confident self and is the central pivot the other 2 ‘erberts feed from and give back with sugar on top.  Too many gems to mention but ‘Terror Holiday’ and ‘Alcohol and Speed’ are already becoming minor classics.

Overall a good do and to be brutally honest I could have and should have not drunk as much as I did.  I don’t mind the pissed up promotion option as long as it can be held together but today I only just hung on in there.  A LESSON TO BE LEARNT.  The gig for me was a classic and I enjoyed it thoroughly but the apathetic approach to live music is a sobering issue I really can’t be arsed to go on about anymore – so I won’t.  A great day out and one that deserved better.  Thanks to all.

by Fungalpunk/OMD