Peter And The Test Tube Babies : Nottingham : Live review

The Old Angel
Jan 2013
Live Review

It would be easy to say, looking around the clientele at the Old Angel that it doesn’t get much more punk than this…but is that true? What does that word really mean?

Some consider that after the first wave of punk, the hordes of emerging genres and developments turned it into what Frank Kogan labels a “superword”, with different genres and people all vying for its ownership. No night has made me contemplate this quite as much as this one.

It was the clichéd nature of efforts to keep punk in its purist form which had sometimes seen the second wave derided…so were does this leave Peter and the Test Tube Babies? Shouty, boozy, often offensive…and all the more entertaining for it! It’s the humour that marks out Peter and the Test Tube Babies; its hard not to appreciate any band that would write a song like “I’m Getting Pissed For Christmas.” Live, they brim with an electrifying energy that would put bands half their age to shame.

It’s the choice to have two local support bands that really holds my attention though, partly because it throws up that “superword” argument. 3 Stone Monkey are a Donnington band with a small army of devoted followers. Its fair to say I will not be joining them. Rather than having “shouty vocals”, they have nothing BUT shouting. Static Kill bassist Jason Whittie informs me afterwards that he had heard them actually play some tunes in the soundcheck, but clearly they just decided not to bother when they got on stage. Worse still, their followers are aggressive and confrontational (two people get their t-shirts ripped clean off, straight down the middle, just for starters) and the band themselves seem as though they want to actively encourage the aggravation, aiding and abetting the crowd.

Is this what “punk” is supposed to be, really? Granted an element of aggression adds to it (especially when there is a cause, but 3 Stone Monkey are by their own admission largely apolitical) but this is just clichéd and pretty mindless. Either that or I’m just getting old.
The true jouissance of punk was captured far better by the opening act, Static Kill. Their “acoustic reggae punktry” to use their own phrase, is well-crafted, compassionate, and open to influences. What bodes really well for them is that in a set that includes covers of songs by Buzzcocks, Stiff Little Fingers, Bob Marley and The Clash, their own songs don’t seem to pale in comparison.

“Religion?” is one of the best, most thoughtful critiques of the church I’ve heard in a long time, where “Zero to Hero” could be a lost Clash gem (an obvious influence). The intelligent lyricism is perfectly delivered by strong, powerful vocals which hold the listeners attention are have the kind of clarity 3 Stone Monkey would do well to learn from. Highly recommended.

Punk is alive and well in Nottingham, however you wish to define it!


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3 comments on “Peter And The Test Tube Babies : Nottingham : Live review”

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  1. Thanks for the shout. Mark. Static Kill.

  2. I was at that gig that night and 3 Stone Monkey smashed it. I’m a big fan now after seeing them that night and with reviews like that I suggest u go see One Direction instead if that’s not to lively for you..

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