Gimp Fist @ Manchester – live review

Gimp Fist play the Rebellion Festival Xmas Bash on Saturday 8th December; Seb Bates caught them last week in Manchester, and suggests they will be one of the bands to see this weekend.

Gimp Fist, Manchester Star & Garter
24th November 2012

Words: Seb Bates
Pic: Dod Morrison

Fist in, last out? I hope so!

Gimp Fist formed in 2005 and have been consistently kicking the arse out of Street Punk ever since by displaying a unique talent for harnessing the conventions of the genre whilst avoiding lazy appeals to cliché. Forming Gimp Fist off the back of a Ska band called Chowder Boy, Johnny, Chris and Mike of Darlington, North East have exhibited greater craftsmanship and produced a more impressive arsenal of material than most of the 1st wave Oi! Bands combined.

The most prevalent problem in Oi! music seems to me to be an unhealthy appeal to precedent and stock generic characteristics. All too often, Oi! Is concerned with regressive displays of aggression and violence, something that any Skinhead band with an ounce of sense would prefer to distance themselvesfrom, for fear of conforming to a tabloid- invented stereotype that casts every wearer of Dr. Marten’s boots in a thuggish light. Similarly problematic can be a reactionary approach to this suggestion. It’s easy to go too far the “other way” in Oi! to the point of hypersensitivity and dogmatic gang mentalities as observable in SHARP (Skinheads Against Racial Prejudice).

Gimp Fist can never be accused of dogmatism and no matter how much I badgered drummer Mike and vocalist Johnny about their politics, they were refreshingly cautious about giving a simplistic review of private political persuasions for fear of sounding too strident or, as Johnny put it “preaching”.

What I was able to glean from the group was that a measured and considerate approach to issues that all too often inspire over- zealous passions and subsequent tunnel- vision on complex issues such as politics, war and peace, was preferred by the gimps. This, coupled with a genuine passion for integration with fans over a pint seems to dominate their agenda more than boring, macho displays of dick waving prevalent in bands like The Old Firm Casuals.

Tonight’s performance, supporting The Business at Manchester’s Star & Garter is a lesson in Street Punk par excellence; musically tight, refreshingly concise and perfectly executed. The material this collective have spawned in their 7-year existence has provided them with an array of anthems from which to choose and absolutely no filler whatsoever features here tonight.

Opening the set with “Just Another Country” gives a seasoned fan an idea of just how much material they have to fall back on as this used to feature nearer the end of a Gimp Fist set as part of the climax of the performance. When you can introduce your set with what used to be its pinnacle and not only maintain that energy but exceed it throughout, you’ve accomplished something truly remarkable!

Other highlights of the night include the boys’ stunning cover of Perkele’s “Heart Full Of Pride” (a well- established audience favourite) and the sterling testament to this band’s working class identity, “Here I Stand”.

Johnny and co. left me with the impression with which I entered this gig under; that here we have one of the most underrated and prolific contributors to the modern Skinhead scene and we should make the most of being part of a truly exciting epoch in Street Punk history, characterised in the work of three rational and coherent individuals who can actually play their instruments.

Rebellion Xmas Bash tickets will be available on the door from midday.

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