The Venue, Derby
25 May, 2015
A new era for the West Midlands band brings a new line up with only the original principal songwriter and co-front man Graham Crabb part of the new line up. However, this doesn’t lessen the quality in any way, with vocalist Mary Byker and the remaining members showing just as much chemistry and cohesion as the original line up.
The Venue provided an intimate location and was full of an older crowd, eager, happy and triumphant at being able to relive their youth. The room was full of dreadlocks and original PWEI t-shirts, dragged from the back of the wardrobe and worn with pride.
As the room goes dark and background music fades PWEI storm the stage to the opener ‘Preaching to the Converted’. From the outset the diehard fans grin from ear to ear and dance like no one is watching. Every member of the crowd appears to be a firm fan and sings every lyric. The enjoyment and the sweat were palpable and it was hard not to get caught up in the enthusiasm.
Songs from the new album ‘Anti Nasty League’ such as ‘They Can’t Take’, ‘Mental Pollution’ and ‘Digital Meltdown’ were interspersed with classics such ‘Can U Dig it?’ and ‘Bulletproof’ to ensure that the room pogoed and danced from start to finish. Chris Sharples from Derby eagerly confirmed ‘that’s the most I’ve ever sweated at a concert. We’ve seen most of the biggest mental bands you can imagine, Slayer, Guns N Roses and that was the most fun and the most we’ve sweated at a gig’. The close intimacy of the venue had a huge impact on that.
The new material stays true to form with political messages and jibes at groups such as the EDL, making no secret of the disdain through the lyrics. Given the period of current austerity it fuels the music, the feeling and the passion from the crowd and the band. Rob Edwards, Derby enthuses that the new songs are just as good as the classics ‘but with a newer, just brilliant energy.’
If you thought PWEI had mellowed with age, you’d be wrong, if anything they are angrier than ever.
All photos and words by Kristen Goodall. More by Kristen on Louder Than War can be found at her author’s archive.