A Bastille Cake!
The final day and it’s time for a bit of rebellion against Rebellion. Some anarcho punks have organised an alternative lunchtime gig at a nearby hotel so I go to strike a blow against the commercialised, corporate arse-licking, sell-out main festival. Or rather I go because The System are playing and I’m hoping they’ll be better than when they played last year at the main festival somewhat uder the influence. I otice the flyer tells me it’s “a night of noise” and is on 12pm – 3pm. Some mistake there. I arrive shortly after 12pm and find it is on. I point out “night” on he flyer to one of the organisers who hadn’t noticed – it should have been “a lunchtime of noise”. I have a good afternoon in the pub , see some new bands , and watch a song and a half by The System who are on much later than advertised, before heading back to the main festival. On this evidence the anarchist utopia will be far too disorganised for me, although it might have decent sound equipment.
REFORMED 80s BAND SABOTAGED BY BAD SOUND OF THE DAY One of my favourites External Menace notified me via my BackTo No Future post that they are back. It’s good to see founder member Sneddy and 90s singer Welshy back. But they’re playing in The Olympia – you get the idea…
MOST ENERGETIC FRONTMAN OF THE DAY The big beardy bloke from Fucked up. I watch from the balcony, curious to see the hipster’s favourite hardcore band. Five minutes into the set he’s in the crowd, then when he’s done with that he’s running upstairs to the balcony. Security can do nothing but keep reeling out the mike lead. At this rate he’ll be in my lap any second now
DISCOVERY OF THE WEEKEND I’ve investigated some unfamiliar bands on the bill this year. Plenty of ska-punk, celtic-punk, and rockabilly punk, which leaves me thinking there should be a new genre called something like punk-punk. That said I’m struggling to find new straight punk bands that do much for me at the moment although Subvision, Total Bloody Chaos and Wasted Life at the anarcho gig were all ok. The new band that impresses me most this weekend is Kill Pretty. The name suggests 90s Riot Grrls, but they are middle aged men from Salford, featuring early Fall drummer Mike Leigh. They sound a bit like The Fall in places also maybe shades of early Nick Cave and perhaps my favourite post punk eccentrics The Cravats. They are hard to pin down though, every song sounds different, so I’ll stick to “post punk” always a good catch all. I’m not sure I wanted to see quite so much of the singer’s beer gut, but I’m in no position to talk there.I’ll spare you a clip but will come back to them in a future Spill post.
NOSTALGIA TRIP OF THE DAY Lene Lovich! Briefly a big hitmaker when I was a nipper. She has the same mad barnet (wig?) and the same mad voice. To be honest I only know Lucky Numbers and Say When, but then I think that’s true of most of the crowd. A reminder of how off the wall mainstream pop could be in the late 70s.
SURVIVORS OF THE WEEKEND I give that award to GBH, still going after 35 years of gigging, ¾ of the original line-up intact. It’s strange to think that when I first saw them in the 90s they were increasingly becoming a sorry sight, plying their metal influenced stuff to an audience that didn’t want it and that’s when they could stand up straight. Here they are though playing a tight set of hardcore punk to a huge crowd, including a lot of younger fans, in the Olympia. An institution!
DUFF SLOT OF THE DAY Possibly reformed Roxy Club survivors Open Sore playing the Olympia while GBH finish and Jello Biafra starts in the Empress and Peter Hook plays classic Joy Division in The Pavilion. I watch 5 minutes and they’re pretty good if that’s any consolation!
SONG OF THE WEEKEND As I said last week I’ve been agonising over whether to watch Jello Biafra and the Guantanamo School of Medicine or Infa Riot. In the end one factor swings it decisively – Infa Riot are playing in The Olympia – there’s no contest. Jello and the GSM in The Empress must have their own sound man to sound as good as they do and Jello, as articulate and energetic as usual is hard to beat as a frontman – even though some may find him a tad smug, eh Panthersan? Shoey is right, GSM can certainly play. Does a song need a supper club jazz intro? They can do that. The song of the weekend though is an updated California Uber Alles (“I am Governor Scwartzeneggar / Very soon I’ll be dictator”). Jello gives a speech mid-song in support of Julian Assange and Bradley Manning before crowd surfing for the final verse. The security staff are working for their money today.
JIMMY PURSEY OF THE DAY How else to describe the Sham 69 mainman? He’s known for generally being well meaning but making odd pronouncements and rambling speeches. There’s a fair few new songs in the set including one called Bastille Cake. “Do you know what a BastilleCake is ?” he asks. No I don’t Jimmy – please elaborate. “Look it up on the internet”. Cheers, Jimmy. He isn’t Jello Biafra, that’s for sure. It’s just as well he has a fearsome arsenal of catchy mob chant choruses to end the weekend.
I’m knackered following the full 4 days, it’s almost a relief it’s over. There’s been a bit of time (not much) for catching up with people as well. Last year I found out that someone I used to know is now working as a dominatrix. This year one of my old friends dmits to being a secret twitcher. It takes all sorts. It’s time to head back home and do important things like looking up Bastille Cake on the internet.