Friday, May 13, 2011


May 10 2011

Wallflowering around London without prejudice, I’ve seen a lot fully-fledged (and clearly defined) music scenes in action. On Tuesday night in Brixton, I saw my favourite one. Not the people – in particular – but the music that goes with it: gravel-throated pop-punk with soul (and melody).

Most of the punk shows I’ve been to so far are all leather jackets, studs, zips and ‘70s nostalgia fests, where a dyed Mohawk’s way more important than any hint of melody.

Tonight, The Windmill’s wall-to-wall flannel: big dudes, sweaty beards, cute punk-rock girls and thick-framed black glasses. Crass, G.B.H and Anti-Nowhere League shirts traded in for Hot Water Music, The Lawrence Arms and Dear Landlord. The underground band of choice – judging by the t-shirts, patches and badges – seems to be Swansea punk rockers The Arteries.

East London trio Cynics go on first. Vocalist Giles Bidder sings with his eyes shut so tight he reminds me of Tom Gabel. Cynics’ sound is gruff and country, belted out with heart and soul. But things sound a little too neat and tidy for me. A little too contained. And straight away, Lincoln’s The Living Daylights blow them away with a hailstorm of distorted awesomeness – it’s like witnessing the invention of the electric guitar and three part harmonies (might have missed a band in-between).

The Living Daylights sound like a cross between The Flatliners and The Loved Ones (with a hint of old Mest). I actually couldn’t believe how good they sound. Like I say, most of the local punk shows I’ve been to are stuck in the past, coughing up crusty, out-of-date studs-and-leather punk.

Up next, Bangers look just how I’d imagine a punk band from Cornwall to look - I can picture them now, sitting in a small pub down south, wearing flat caps, eating a ploughman’s lunch… Musically, they’ve got that classic three-piece punk-rock sound: ultra-rhythmic, palm-muted guitars, solid, muscular bass lines, tight, busy drums and bag loads of gut wrenching melodies. Up-tempo, road-hungry, DIY dudes with issues to burn!

Finally, the main course: New York “supergroup” Iron Chic, featuring Jason Lubrano (Small Arms Dealer, Wax Phantom) on vocals, Phil “Bear” Douglas (Latterman) on guitars and backups, Dumps (Jonesin’, Down In the Dumps, Get Bent) on bass, Rob McAllister (Capital) on guitar and Gordon Lafler (Jonesin’) on drums. Phew…

“Defend against the hordes, with rusted shields and broken swords. All we need are words. A handful of drunken slurs…”

Iron Chic are such a great band. They deserve fame and fortune! From the lyrics to the attitude, it’s an all-heart, no-bullshit combination of Scooby Doo, DC Comics, Seinfeld and punk rock. My cup of tea exactly! Phil Douglas doesn’t even look like he was made for this world – but sure as fuck, we’re glad he was.

On stage, The Windmill has Iron Chic surrounded. Hands point back at them, mouths throw lyrics right back in their sweaty faces – “You know the words, you know every verse”. The Windmill’s a small place. The walls are bursting at the seams. The energy’s electric. And Iron Chic, as unlikely a supergroup as they look, are on fire tonight!

1 comment:

  1. Hi, I write a fanzine with my friend Rob called BonusCupped. We interviewed Bangers at their recent Brixton gig and were wondering whether we could use the picture of that show you've posted on here, or any others of Bangers that you took on the night.
    John, BonusCupped fanzine