Our Steve saw the new year in the only way he knows
This annual event has now been going for some years and credit must go to Dave Baker and the Castle and Falcon for rescuing the event that almost got pulled due to some venue issues.
When first band Spirit Bomb hit the stage the pub is already almost full and they duly thank everyone for their support. Don’t know why I have never caught them before but am surprised how tuneful they are with Mez bringing his vocal talents to this tight unit. They open with ‘Achilles Heel’ from their 2015 album ‘Bridge On Fire’.
They are an excellent band with great songs full of interesting guitar and bass riffs, solid drumming and differing tempos. I am even more impressed when I learn the stand in bass player has just got up and played.
They rip through their set with minimal chatter and invite usual bass player Dek Drongo onto the stage to sing backing vocals on ‘The Lie’ . They end with the excellent ‘Listen’ and ‘Can’t Eat Money’ and for me their set is over far too quickly.
Wrong Side of Town
Count the Stars
Can’t Eat Money
Dave Baker our host is up next and Complete Dysfunction, now a four piece, with new drummer are as tight as ever and seem to play with more freedom. They clearly enjoy what they do and have the type of songs that the whole crowd can get behind such as I’m a Mess’, Riot’ and Juvenile Deliquent’ which Dave ironically dedicates to all us old uns in the room.
Their songs now seem to bounce along with a lot more swagger especially the rock and rolling ‘Machine Gun Joe’ and ‘Black and White’ They will always tell it like it is so to end with a song called ‘F…k You’ is a fitting end to their set.
I’m a mess
Machine Gun Joe
Black and White
Drongos For EuropeTonight sees the long awaited return of Dek Drongo on bass. They begin with ‘Wake Up Call’ and then rip through ‘Mayday’, ‘Whose Army’ and ‘Stand Up Be Strong’. From start to finish they drive through their set of punk singalongs which most in the crowd know well.
They are an assured band and mix the old such as ‘Peace’with newer stuff such as the excellent ‘City Without a Soul’ which rightly criticises the gentrification of the best parts of Brum.
They end with the classic ‘Revolution Times’ and ‘Hope and Glory’ and it is clear that Tommy didn’t ever think he would be doing this a year ago with the bass player he has played alongside for over 30 years.
GBH are a much heavier proposition these days and open with an ode about their hometown, ‘Birmingham Smiles’from their new album ‘Momentum’. From the muscular guitar chords to the tight as hell drums and bass, Colin’s signature gravelly vocals take charge and the song motors along at a pace with the excellent line “…everyone’s got a hometown but not everyone has home.”
As expected GBH take us through their early days of ‘Leather Bristles Studs and Acne’ early singles and B sides and stuff from their first 2 or 3 albums making for a home town singalong. ‘Knife Edge’, ‘Dead On Arrival’ and ‘Generals’ and ‘Sick Boy’ are pure class and the inclusion of ‘Big Women’ is a must.
These are interspersed with other tracks off the new album such as the rocking ‘Fifty What’ full of great guitar riffs and some class drum fills dedicated to old ones in the audience. In contrast ‘Kids Get Down’ is rightly dedicated to those younger people who continue to carry the flag for punk.
The title track, from the new album, ‘Momentum’, is packed with hooks and 100mph punk rock with some monster riff work. This is quickly followed by ‘Diplomatic Immunity ‘ and for me this is the best of the night. Local stand in bass player Micky Coyle plays an excellent set and never misses a beat. An impromptu ‘Alcohol’ prompting a beer fuelled singalong .
They end with ‘City Baby’ and the revenge, ‘Time Bomb’ new song ‘Liquid Paradise’(The Epic) which has the most amazing intro and rips into almost surf rock guitar and ‘Maniac’. A great end to an excellent night.
As Mr Coyle leaves the stage and shouts ‘Nice on Decka’ it is pretty clear that tonight belongs to the fabulous Baker boys if you’ll pardon the pun. .
Next years gig is already arranged so stick it in the diary. .
Race Against Time
Dead On Arrival
Slit Your Own Throat
Am I Dead Yet
Give Me Fire
Kids Get Down
City Baby Attacked By Rats
City Baby’s Revenge