Live at Joseph's Well on Sunday, 7th December 2003
It's bloody freezing outside, it's a 5 o'clock kick off and it's nearly 6.30. Nice one Paul, you tit. Fortunately for me JR Ewing have pulled out so the gig didn't kick off until late, but I'm still late enough to miss the beginning of Freaks Union's set like a right proper arse. For those unfortunate individuals who don't know Freaks Union, they are one of the best street punk bands in the UK at the moment; with 2 ex-members of Leeds very own Dead Pets you know it's gonna be fun. And fun it is. Rocking, straight forward, aggressive punk rock with a bit of ska thrown in for good measure, similar to The Filaments and 17 Stitches. Performance wise, it's all good. Mohawks, tats and piercings a plenty. Aggressive as a rabid badger. Nice.
Next up are 3-piece southern melodic rockers Blocko. Before we get to the music I have to say that the bass player is a bloody giant, I swear he had a lovely Fender bass, and these things aren't small, but it looked like a mandolin in this fellas hands! Anyways back to the music. I've only heard these boys before on a Boss Tuneage sampler and to be honest they didn't blow me away. Tonight was a different story, great melodic punk rock in the vein of Hooton 3 Car, Somerset and the mighty Leatherface. Vocals wise, very whiskey and cigarettes. A bit like Dunk Redmonds from Snuff singing with a mouthful of gravel.
Unfortunately for them said frontman snaps a guitar string, subsequently doesn't have a spare guitar, looks for new string, hasn't got new string, borrows new string, and proceeds to restring guitar. Whilst this is going on crowd proceed to bugger off to the bar in droves. Which is a real shame as they've missed out on a genuinely fantastic set (on a side note I also hear that they're massive fans of late, great, Wakey boys come good, Crackle Records regulars, Chopper. Which is nice).
After fighting my way back to the bar it's time to turn round and head back again for French Canadian clean cut kids, Fifth Hour Hero. After a line check which seemed to last an age they're underway. Vocal duties are taken up by the Colgate family children (I'm not joking, these two are probably the two best looking people in punk rock, but I suppose that's not too hard?) Genevieve Tremblay & Olivier Maguire who suitably rock the joint with some emo-tinged indie rock. Their ability and passion for their music was evident to see and they looked like they were having a genuinely good time, this nice attitude and personality rubbed off on the Leeds crowd and a nice time was had by all. Olivier broke a string but it was changed lightening fast so interruption was kept to a minimum. Not usually my sort of thing, but the infectious melodies, great female vocals and impassioned stage performance won me over straight away, great band, definitely worth checking out.
After another futile attempt to get to the bar it's time for something a bit different. New Mexican Disaster Squad now grace us with their presence, NMDS sound like mid 80's NY hardcore given a bath, a shave and a good meal, not unlike new F Minus. Tight performance, aggressive driving guitars, good hardcore vocals - can't fault 'em.
By this time I've sacked off the idea of getting to the bar and instead nominate to stay put and watch everyone's gear whilst they go to the bar instead. After what seems like a fortnight, said friends reappear laden with ale a-plenty just in time for Strike Anywhere to take the stage! Yey! For those unfamiliar with a Strike Anywhere show, it's pretty damn exciting. Front man Thomas is like a firecracker, light the touch paper and watch him go off. Up and down the stage, in the crowd, on top of the crowd, all over the place.
Again, Strike Anywhere come up with the goods, 50 mins of cracking political hardcore, catchy and anthemic, a stage presence of gargantuan proportions, every song a crowd pleaser.
Recently I reviewed the new Strike Anywhere album and the words "complacent" and "lackluster" were used. Forgive me people, I am an IDIOT, Strike Anywhere are one of the most exciting bands on the punk scene today without a shadow of a doubt. Awesome, best gig I've been to this year.