Posted on August 18, 2010 - by Editor
Wednesday 11th August 2010
Although New Zealand’s Bad Town were listed on the poster and billing they don’t perform/show up/make the trip but the trio of bands kicked off early as all London gigs seem to.
Up first were Condition Dead, a four piece rough and ready punk rock band with Alex (Al Symers) formerly vocalist for Kent’s S.O.R.B. and London’s Refuse/All on the vocals. The band have seen a succession of drummers but hope to have stability with the new line-up and play raucous politically and socially themed old school punk rock with songs such as ‘100 Dead Soldiers’ for those fallen in Iraq and Afghanistan (although the age of the song is revealed by Alex adding that the number now is over 300). Their hardcore/oi punk is interspersed with Alex addressing the crowd between songs with short song introductions and numbers such as ‘It’s not who you know it’s who you blow’ about music industry receiving a few chuckles. Although the band is not super tight (they screw up songs about the Territorial Army) they put on a decent showing and appeal to the old school favouring crowd.
Following up were Nottingham based for piece Girlfixer, who I last saw play at the City Invasion tour for the first time and they had some real positives. With the female vocal and drummer combo in Natalie and Nicola respectively, the band are rounded off with the highly charged and entertaining Lance on bass and Antony on guitar. They play fast and sometimes melodic punk rock, with the vocals much improved which also seems to coincide with Natalie’s growing confidence although she is still outdone in some ways by her male wingmen on stage in terms of energy. The attention is often on the two guys; full of whirlwind energy, swinging guitars and comical facial expression. Their songs include ‘Greed’ and their first written track called ‘Addict’. Someone in the crowd remarked on their comparison to Vice Squad, especially with the more hard rock and old school punk elements to their sound. What I would say is the songs where the guys add gang vocals to the choruses added a lot to the energy and is something they should try and work more into their range to compliment Natalie’s already good lead vocals. Possibly a rough diamond in the works but some work still to be done.
Subhumans, with the notorious Dick Lucas, don’t take an age to make their own way on to the stage. Dick looks like a punk rock Gollum and as
venomous and biting as ever, wearing a torn grey Jack Daniels shirt and denim shorts, a bundle of energy and spitting force he works his way quickly through a number of songs including ‘Apathy’, ’Fractured’, ‘Big Brother’ and loads more, some with little anecdotes and explanation where he feels necessary, but the unsubtle digs at social, political and economic injustices according to Mr Lucas are hard not to admire and strike a obvious chord. The songs generally (in true Subhumans style) are fast, short and aggressive punk rock and the crowd leaps and slams at every opportunity creating a constant whirlpool of a circle pit with bodies leaping from the low stage.
With requests being shouted intermittently from various punters such as ‘Animal ’ and several others I couldn’t quite decipher (slurred words and my own lack of knowledge on the Subhumans back catalogue) it’s entertaining and intriguing to watch the band and Dick in action . This is a band and a man who have been flying their flag for decades and the whole night although filled deep with nostalgia for some, also has a hollow but resonating feeling of carrying the true punk spirit and roots, which perhaps have already faded or is on the verge of doing so in much of contemporary punk. The relevance of the material despite the age of the songs is as relevant as ever and perhaps there are not too many Dick Lucas’s left in the current crop of punk rock upstarts.
My own philosophising aside, the show is a true pleasure to witness, from the high energy levels of the band to cameo moments like when the band returned to their encore and Dick Lucas single handily appreciating the encore shouts but dismissing them for placing the band on a pedestal. The Subhumans don’t play too often but when they do I would strongly advise you go along as it is a lesson in repeated history and admirable principles whilst punk rock to the bone.
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