Eastfield - Jessi

Drop The Dumbells, Liverpool
Friday 8th March 2013

In certain quarters debate continues to rage as to the true meaning of punk; was it an art school movement centred upon St Martins College, or was it an organic street movement driven by disaffected youth?

To Eastfield, the finest purveyours of urban rail punk I would suggest none of this matters; to them being in band, and a band that seem to be on an unending tour itinerary provides them with a platform to vent their spleen on a variety of topics – political observation coupled with humorous celebrity lashings and, err… trainspotting!

Eastfield are fiercely independent, they write, record and self-release all their own material; and all their material is built around the mantra ‘three chords good, four chords bad’ not that that prevents variation; even their line-up tonight is a variant, instead of the usual four piece we get energetic frontman Jessi, drummer Pete, a guest appearance from Ben Digo (Zombina & The Skeletones, El Toro, and also Long Finger Bandits who are supporting), as regular bass player Bambi has been forced to pull the gig due to illness, backing vocalist Trina has also not made the journey; none of that mattered to Eastfield as Jessi rejoices in the traditional “the show must go on” refrain before launching into a selection of tracks from the bands now 17yr career.

Is there a happier band than Eastfield – looking at them as they bounce around the performance area of Dumbells I think not – huge smiles across their faces as they play for friends old and new; all are welcome at an Easfield gig, the venue looks and feels like an old mid 80’s east European squat, it’s certainly cold enough to remind you; apparently by day it masquerades as a gallery, tonight under a single hurricane light Eastfield deliver an energised set, perhaps Pete is a little too exuberant; every track is coming at you like a speeding… train; well it had to be!! Jessi and Ben struggling to keep pace as they catapult around the stage; though their efforts certainly keeps them warm.


Eastfield’s lyrics range from celebrity bashing ‘Burt Reynolds’, warnings about the excess consumption of cheap cider bullets ‘Aspartame’ and always always back to public transport ‘God’s Plastic Railway’ and ‘Fare Dodging’ to cite but two, however at no point do Eastfield take up a stance, their message is delivered with a vicious lick of humour and the crowd respond accordingly dancing freely, stupid grins slapped across their faces; Eastfield despite their sometime serious message are not above self-deprecation as they launch into ‘Another Boring Eastfield Song’ Jessie name checking just about every defined musical genre with an accompanying dance before reminding us that “You can sing along/or you should get a life” rejoicing in the well worn critique of his band.

To drag a line from their track ‘Everything Is Marvellous’, yeah this was “bloody marvellous!”

Best wishes to Bambi – get well soon.

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Phil Newall is 47, from The Wirral - he earns his living not writing about music nor playing music...though sorely wishes he could. He was fortunate enough to see many of the first generation punk bands when they played the U18's matinee shows at Eric's, Liverpool. As an attendee at Eric's he was exposed to punk rock, dub reggae, art rock, and all manner of weirdness; as a customer at Probe Records he was variously served and scowled at by Pete Wylie and Pete Burns - he has written for Record Collector, Whisperin & Hollerin, and Spiral Scratch and wanted to write a book detailing the Liverpool punk scene; however with 'Head-On' Julian Cope beat him to it...and frankly did a much better job.


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