“Come and have a go…”
It’s breakfast and there’s already a crisis! My mate has come to breakfast wearing an identical t-shirt to me. He wore that one on Thursday so I should have been safe to wear it! I change my t-shirt asap. Otherwise things go smoothly enough pre-gig. I wander round and notice that Blackpool’s B & B area is looking a bit depressed. A couple of bigger B & Bs are closed and quite a few others have vacancies. And is it me or are the seagulls looking a bit more menacing this year? Perhaps I should stop reading tabloid scare stories.
Today is a confusing day for anyone who knows the history of UK punk. Steve Ignorant plays an acoustic set this evening. Odd enough (his voice always seemed suited best to shouting over feedback and quasi-military drums) but odder still he is wearing a Cockney Rejects t-shirt (if this means nothing google the lyrics for Crass – Working Class Rip Off), and tells us about a friendly natter he was having earlier with Garry Bushell (google Crass – Hurry Up Garry). Not far away a succession of “Crass bands” play throughout the day on a stage adorned with banners from sponsors Jaegermeister. And not far away on another stage Special Duties appear playing their infamous anthem Bullshit Crass. I suppose the 80s is a long time ago.
Another juxstaposition is the official Dr Marten’s promotional stall (not sure why when 90% of punters here wear them already) in the same venue as ageing Oi band The Warriors’ merch stall, with their certainly unofficial “Dr Marten’s Dentistry Plan” t-shirt! Anyway , ’s the highlights
STRANGEST VENUE OF THE DAY Goldblade are doing a lunchtime acoustic set in HMV! John Robb makes up for lack of amplification by getting the gathered rabble to join in the choruses (sample – “Fighting in the dancehall / Fucking in the streets”) which bemuses the ordinairy customers. He also suggests starting a moshpit but fortunately no one takes this idea seriously. It’s the oddest gig location I’ve been to since I went to a barn in a farmer’s field to see …Goldblade!
REFORMED 80s BAND SABOTAGED BY BAD SOUND OF THE DAY Anti Establishment, who replied to my Back To No Future feature a few months back announcing their reunion, are on. Great news! They are on in the Olympia! Bad news. It sounds ok if you stand next to the speaker – easy enough as their audience today is what Spinal Tap would call “more select”. They do a good job though despite the odd cock up, and at least three of us really enjoy it.
BAND OF THE WEEKEND With utter predictability it’s Paranoid Visions, this time without Steve Ignorant, but still on in The Olympia (boo). They seem to have slightly better sound, and deliver a completely different set to yesterday. Deko leers at us menacingly, and makes between song quips that are so warped that I won’t quote them here. Eventually lies down on the stage. Odd behaviour, but who wants frontmen to be normal.
REVISIONIST PUNK HERO OF THE DAY It could be Coronation Street’s Reg Holdsworth judging by the number of punks who are beginning to look uncannily like him. Istead it’s fact George Formby. 17 piece female band The Pukes have been making a name with their ukulele punk covers. Today the Lost Cherrees’ two female singers are also playing ukulele. Fortunately they put them down after one song, and things improve rapidly
WIND UP MERCHANTS OF THE DAY Hard Skin have been ruffling a few feathers on the oi scene. There are rumours that they may not actually be skinheads but a bunch of old anarcho punks having a laugh. Who’s spreading these rumours? No doubt the same sort of people who claim that Spinal Tap aren’t a real rock band. Here’s Fat Bob giving his own uniue perspective on anti-immigration politics.
I’m sure Fat Bob will sort out the rumourmongers. His body is “built for boxing and crime” he tells us. “All you crusty punks, fuck off and watch The Mob”. Speaking of which
ANARCHO BAND OF THE DAY (other than Paranoid Visions) I mentioned a plethora of “Crass bands” playing. The line up in the Pavilion looks like something from a squat gig on in London in 1982, but with added sponsorship. There are some good ones such as the aforementioned Lost Cherrees, and Decadent Few with their distinctive vocalist Kay. I also watch Anthrax for the second time in a year, although I’m sure last time they were exhorting me to “ROCK” in American accents and didn’t have songs with titles like Capitalism Is Cannibalism.
However its The Mob who win the anarcho plaudits on the day with their intense but vulnerable sound. Everyone enjoys their great set. Everyone apart from of of my mates who thinks they are “depressing”.
DILEMMA OF THE WEEKEND Do I go for Cock Sparrer, heading the most cockney bill in the history of live music , following Chas N Dave and the Cockney Rejects? The musical equivalent of being buried under a ton of jellied eels. No, been there done that. Do I watch Varukers or Ruts DC? I’m advised I should watch Ruts DC by a member of Varukers! Ruts DC it is, and I don’t regret it as they sound brilliant (must have their own soundman) and after a bit of reggae play almost every Ruts song I’d want.
They finish around 2am , but it’s Saturday so the night is young…..
HEAVIEST BAND OF THE WEEKEND,..AND ANY OTHER WEEKEND I’m getting a feeling of déjà vu as like last year I’ve gone aftershow to the Tache Club to watch the Cryo-genics and The Vile, and like last year I’ve missed the Cryo-genics (again!). There’s a bonus tonight though as headlining are The Fiend who sound phenomenally heavy in a Discharge kind of way. I saw Motorhead a few months ago, all I can say is when Lemmy gets back on the road he needs to try harder. Or maybe it’s just the excessive quatities of cider that I’ve consumed. By this point (about 4am) I’m falling asleep standing up so it’s time stagger back to te B & B.