The Godfathers – This Is War!
New live recording by legendary Punk/R&B/Rock & Roll practitioners the Godfathers, taken from at their gigs in Bremen and Malmo during December 2017. This limited edition album is available only from the band’s website on CD or download at sites like iTunes……Ian Canty feels the vibrations from many miles and over a year away…..
When I saw the Godfathers back in 1986 at around the time of the This Damn Nation single, everything changed. It’s still burned into my mind’s eye that night. They simply set out the standards that I have judged live performance by ever since and they set the bar high. Total conviction, a real presence, pin-sharp playing and tough-as-nails attitude. They made it look so easy too. For a good long while they made everyone else look like mere amateur hour efforts.
Though I followed their recording career with a great deal of interest, I didn’t have the chance to see them live again in their original incarnation. Actually the next time I saw them was a couple of months after the two European gigs at Malmo and Bremen that are utilised on This Is War! – catching them at the now defunct Talking Heads venue in Southampton. Despite having a completely different line-up behind the band’s mainstay Peter Coyne, they somehow managed to give off the same vibe as all those years ago – they still had it and This is War! proves it beyond doubt.
In a perfect world I suppose you would only have to point a microphone in the direction of a band like the Godfathers to get a great live album, but we all know it takes a lot more work than that. In my eyes first off, which is pretty much a given in this instance but needs stating, the band need to be on top form. The next is that the sound has to be good, but not so smooth that you might as well be listening to a studio recording. You need to be given the feeling of almost being there, to feel the excitement, the energy, the atmosphere.
This Is War ticks all those boxes in spades, guitarist Steve Crittal works wonders in the production added to the onstage pyrotechnics he and fellow guitar ace Alex McBain provide too. After a short introduction the band blaze into the title track of this LP, originally recorded on the Unreal World album. This is an apt name indeed for this record as the Godfathers hold nothing back here. Then they fly straight into Cause I Said So, a superior Rock And Roll statement of intent.
This is followed by the unstoppable momentum of A Big Bad Beautiful Noise from their most recent LP. Til My Heart Stops Beating, One Good Reason and Defibrillator are from the same record, but fit in perfectly with the older material being full of fire and just damn good tunes. One Good Reason even nods towards jangly Pop, but has the firm rhythmic base given by bassist Darren Birch and the mighty Tim James on drums. Peter’s vocals are the personification of Rock ‘N’ Roll grit – anyone wanting to know anything about how to put your band over on stage would do well to learn from his example – simply one of the best frontmen I have seen.
Their second LP More Songs About Love And Hate is represented by an ace version of She Gives Me Love, Walking Talking Johnny Cash Blues and a spirited Just Because You’re Not Paranoid Doesn’t Mean To Say They’re Not Going To Get You!. This means in effect we get a live reproduction of the 1989 She Gives Me Love single. After that the Godfathers fire a three shot knockout punch in the form of I Want Everything, This Damn Nation and Birth School Work Death. Very few other outfits can call upon three songs to give a such devastating climax. It ends the album on a real high after keeping this listener rapt throughout the running time.
Simply put this is a classic live album that delivers big time. The Godfathers were always in their element on stage and this proves their prowess is undimmed by age. Still very much a vital force to be reckoned with, This Is War! lights up a room through pure musical force.
The Godfathers official website is here
All words by Ian Canty – see his author profile here