Friday. The Hope & Anchor. A solo spot is probably the toughest gig you can do. It takes a big personality to own that stage, grab the audience’s attention and keep it for the duration of your set. Fortunately, Comrade Exhas no problem doing just that. His folky-punk take on a range of classic tunes demands audience participation, and he gets the crowd singing along in fine form. And when Noel from Menace joined him for a rousing version of GLC, the place went wild. My only criticism of the set would be that it seemed far too short and went far too quickly. Nice one, Mr X.
Next up were KNOCK OFF, who hit the ground running with a blistering set of visceral, take-no-prisoners street punk. Hard and fast, and with more hooks than an Abu-Hamza lookalikes convention, they never fail to deliver the goods. And most importantly, they understand the need to underpin their attack with a tune. Keep an eye on them, they’re well worth checking out.
Morgellons went down well with a vocal and appreciative crowd. And based on the audience response, we’re on the right track with the new material. Watch this space…
Menace Punk at the Hope & Anchor is always going to be a safe bet for a good night out, and tonight they didn’t disappoint. They always do a good show, but here on their home turf, they were incendiary. And that fact that after nearly forty years on the road, they’re still writing new and fresh material rather than resting on the laurels of past glories, shows they are still a force to be reckoned with. All in all, a great start to the weekend.
Saturday. The Barn. Down to the wilds of Hampshire and the Barn in sunny Southsea. Unfortunately, I arrived too late to see the Xtraverts, but from all accounts, they played a tight set of old school punk gems. However, I did get to see The Flying Alexanders. All I can say is that they were brilliant, and quite simply one of the best bands I’ve seen in ages. With an original sound and a great frontman who has more than a hint of soul in his vocal delivery, they’re one of those hidden gems on the live circuit that deserve a wider audience. Plus, as an added bonus a certain Mr Gaynor joined them onstage for a killer version of Search and Destroy. Absolutely stunning.
Again, Morgellons acquitted ourselves well. It cannot be overstated how important it is to have a good crowd, and the Pompey mob were certainly on form, with plenty of singing, dancing and general leaping around like a shower of loons. What a great bunch of nutters they are, and what a great venue the Barn is. Such a shame it’s going the way of far too many small gig venues in the UK. It’ll be missed.
Menace kicked up a storm as ever, and powered through a set that bought the whole evening to a most satisfactory conclusion. A great band, and a throughly decent bunch of folks, it’s always a pleasure to gig with them. They embody everything that’s good about the live punk scene. They walk the walk and talk the talk, and long may they continue.
I think we’ve got a bit of a break now, with one or two rehearsals penciled in for writing new material before the next batch of live dates. It’s weekends like this that make being in a band the best thing a bunch of middle-aged chancers could ever do. Thanks to each and every one of you who come out and support us in particular, and live music in general. For every venue they shut, we’ll find another one. If we keep going, they can’t stop us and we will not be silenced.