Goldblade | TV Smith | Eastfield | Sarah Pink | Anabolic Steroids
12 Bar Club, London
19th Dec 2014
Brother John took his band Goldblade down south for a bit of a knees up at the soon to be ex-12 Bar Club last week where he was joined by some friends. Check out Sophie Bluestone’s review for us below.
For those that haven’t been to the 12 bar club in Soho, you need to go now. Ok, not right now. Finish reading this then you are free to go. And time is of the essence. Some greedy bastards *ahem* prosperous investors, have bought the place, and are planning to turn it into some chain pub or generic shop (our report about this is here). Which is ridiculous, as the 12 bar is one of an increasingly small amount of independent music venues that has a history. And I mean a proper history. It goes unnoticed by most passers-by, although now and again you do find a couple of tourists, but they’ve usually left by the time the first band starts. Once you get inside you can see the décor hasn’t changed in fifty years. Which is excellent.
However, I’m not here to just talk about this fantastic venue. The first act of the night was Sarah Pink. She had a short, but sweet set, (only four songs), which left everyone – including me – wanting more. Pink’s set included popular covers, such as the Buzzcocks, and originals, including ‘punk police’, a song about punks telling other punks they can’t be punks, which for someone only just getting into the genre is reassuring to hear.
The next band were called Anabolic Steroids. It’s at this point I have to admit I’ve only recently gotten into the punk scene. Well, that’s not true, I’ve only recently gotten heavily into the punk scene. I’m still kind of feeling my way around. I had really no idea what to expect. All in all, the Anabollic Steroids were very substantial. They had some strong bass lines and some really nice guitar work. However, front man Steve Steroid seemed in a hurry to get off stage, though Kappa (on bass) was quite happy to stay and chat, slowing Steve down every now and again.
Next up were Eastfield. I’d heard quite a bit about them between the other bands, and there was a buzz all around the venue. When they got on stage I knew they were going to be good fun. There’s so many punk and post punk bands out there that have a political and social message, which is great, and I do think they all deserve to be heard. However, along with your political views and musical moral lectures, I think it’s very important to be able to poke fun; at yourself, your subject matter and even at your audience. This is something Eastfield do well. Very well. The rhythm section was energetic, and held the songs together, as I’m finding to be the case with many punk bands. I recommend seeing Eastfield. They’re able to joke on stage without diminishing their message. They’re also very fond of trains.
Goldblade. Where to even start? I felt the energy in the room surge as soon as they came on stage. Those of you who haven’t been to the 12 bar yet (what are you waiting for? Oh yeah, the end of this…) won’t be aware of how small the stage is. It’s a central London venue, so naturally, everything has to be as small as possible. The band contorted themselves onstage, everyone just about fitting on, while making sure Brother John had enough room to dance. The energy that came pouring off these guys was just amazing. After the previous, fairly static bands, Gloldblade were a breath of fresh air. We know their music is good, and it really is. However, I think hearing it on YouTube or an LP or whatever, so much is lost. The raw power that it’s got when the lyrics are delivered four inches from your face, the excitement in the mosh pit, are only echoes when hearing the music through your laptop. This is a band that can’t be contained, they need to be performing. And they’re damn good at it.
The last act of the evening was veteran punk, TV Smith, from The Adverts. As a special Christmas treat he had Leigh Heggarty playing with him. The mix of TV Smith’s classic acoustic, and Heggarty’s semi-acoustic worked perfectly together, even if they hadn’t practiced much of the set list. It’s beautiful when two guys can get up on stage and just work off of each other, not only playing in tune with each other, but complementing the other’s sound. TV Smith is an old favourite of mine, and I’ve come to see him as the Billy Bragg of punk, which I think suits him rather well. The set was a contrast to Goldblade, but I feel it worked well. It was like having a cool down after an intense exercise (literally, if you were in the front for Goldblade). As with all the other bands of the night TV Smith has an anti-capitalist stance, and, it being so close to Christmas was the only one to offer up an anti-Christmas Carol, which has been going round in my head for days.
The whole night was a brilliant end to the year. The 12 bar is a place you can feel you belong, even if you have nowhere else to go, or no one to go with. You will meet the weirdest, drunkest, but ultimately nicest people in town. You get to drink, feel the history bleed through the walls and see some genuine punk, played well, and -more importantly- played with passion.
Happy Christmas, happy bloody Christmas.
All words by Sophie Bluestone. More writing by Sophie can be found at her author’s archive when, although bear in mind this is her first piece of writing for us.