Filed under: Bands, Narc | Tags: Fever Fever, Future Of The Left, Guitar Wolf, Maximum Zeros, NoFX, Snuff
NoFX / Less Than Jake / Snuff – Newcastle Academy, June 13th
When people are crowdsurfing and throwing pints by 7.30, you know you picked the wrong time to go on the wagon. The Academy is HEAVING with every flavour of punker, the atmosphere is fantastic and here are Snuff, the loveable scooterboys of UK hardcore, kicking off with their version of The Likely Lad Theme (smart move, lads!) and rattling through a short and perfect 30 minutes of originals, covers (like crowd fave Soul Limbo), football gags and cockney bullshit. Wonderful.
I just don’t get Less Than Jake. They tick all the right boxes somehow, an almost exact midway point between Snuff and NoFX (appropriately enough) but it’s all so second hand and lacking in punch. The crowd loved them, I was bored rigid. So polished, so pointless.
And then NoFX. Never has an utter shambles of a show been so much fun. Hardcore as hell and as childishly, wonderfully funny as ever, a NoFX gig is 2 minute hardcore blasts punctuated by Fat Mike bitching and moaning. It’s brilliant and the crowd go batshit. However, things go awry when Mike – already pretty hammered – necks a pill thrown onstage and near the end of the set has to leave the stage to sort himself out. By the time the band reappear, they’ve run out of time and get turned off without an encore. So we’re faced with the utterly surreal spectacle of NoFX and various roadies doing a half-arsed dance routine to the Avenue Q song ‘Everyone’s A Little Bit Racist’ by way of consolation. Now that’s punk rock…
Guitar Wolf / The Maximum Zeroes – The Cluny, June 5th
I must have seen Brian Coyoteman in about 75 different bands during my 2 years on Tyneside, but Maximum Zeroes are the best. Imagine a high class bar band if the bar was CBGBs, or a furious blend of The Dictators and Dr Feelgood and you’ll get the idea – garage punk in touch with its R&B roots.
Oh, my – Guitar Wolf! The greatest cartoon band ever (Gorillaz included). They clearly think the Ramones were overcomplicating things and turn everything into a furious, cool as fuck, garage rock onslaught. You don’t come to see the Wolf for subtlety or melodies, you come to see three guys in leather and shades make an astonishing racket whilst never forgetting to strike none-more-iconic poses. Guitar Wolf (the singer / guitarist, not the band) has a rock’n’roll dictionary with 10 words in it, and 4 of those are ‘baby’. By the end of the gig, he’s being held aloft over the crowd (Iggy-style) by not one but two Narc writers while a fella called Rory from Stockton is onstage playing guitar and wondering what the fuck is happening. Even when the lights are on and crowd is leaving, ears ringing, the frontman runs back onstage to tell us how much he loves Newcastle whilst wrenching pure noise out of his guitar. The beautiful, dumb essence of rock’n’roll distilled.
Future Of The Left / Fever Fever – The Academy 2, June 10th
Fever Fever took a couple of songs to overcome some initial shyness but ended up coming on like a compelling blend of grunge low end and riot grrl righteousness, like Kathleen Hanna fronting The Melvins, raw and honest and forthright. Judging by the scrum at the merch stand, they won a lot of new fans, which is as it should be.
My first Future Of The Left gig was exactly as I hoped: furious, intense, funny and very loud. Falco manages to be both the angriest and most articulate man in rock, which – when married to their bludgeoning but melodic hardcore – leads to a perfect storm of belligerence and scorn. Now a four-piece, they sound like the best bits of Shellac but with more songs, the faster tunes leaving Falco and co-vocalist / guitarist Jimmy reduced to red-faced screaming while the bass and drums just don’t quit. And bassist Julie is simply drop dead cool. Future Of The Left have so many great songs there’s no need for them to play any Mclusky ones, but it was great to hear Lightsabre Cocking Blues and To Hell With Good Intentions anyway. The gig ends, as is traditional, with the ritual dismantling of the drumkit, mid-song, which makes for a fantastic climax and removes the need for the pantomime of encores.
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