The Outcasts + The Defects + Cheeko + Buck Eejit + Fubar
Warzone Centre, Belfast,
review originally printed on the NI Punk website
The ‘Warzone Centre’ has risen pheonix like from the flame left burning by the long departed but fondly remembered ‘Giros’, this small city centre venue & vegetarian cafe only opened its doors a couple of months back but its already making quite a name for itself. Its a small and dark space, where if your that way inclined you can bring your own booze, which is always very welcome with the cash strapped but thirsty punters / punkers.
This was our first visit up its stairs and through its doors, and my first impressions where very positive. When the main house lights were on it looked like any other nondescript compact venue with a low ceiling, but once the lights were were turned off the old windmills of my memory started turning and it now reminded me of the legendary Belfast venues from my punk rock youth like ‘The Harp’ and ‘The Pound’.
I think the ‘Warzone’ is going to prove itself to be an essential and popular place for new & established bands of a certain stature to play, ‘VX’ have already made enquires.
We wish all the members of the ‘Warzone Collective’ who made this much needed small venue a reality “all the best for the future”.
Fubar turned out to be a punk covers band who played a fine selection of classic tunes, mixed with a bit of (in my opinion) not so great oi! oi!, but each to their own . There was a lot of Ramones / Clash numbers in their set, but my favs were the rough & ready renditions of ‘Love Song’ (The Damned ) , Blitzkrieg Bop (Ramones ) and Jah War (The Ruts) . Fubar were a good way to start this show , everyone enjoyed their set.
My old pal rockabilly ‘Paul Magill’ was a founding member and used to be their guitarist, but this was the first time I’d seen the self proclaimed best and worst band from the mean streets of Lisburn ‘Buck Eejit’ live, and I thought they were really good fun . ‘Paddy’ the frontman is great craic and really entertaining to watch, while the rest of the band provided a rock solid punk rock soundtrack to his crazy antics.
But don’t make the mistake of letting the comedy aspects of their songs fool you , yeah! theres actually a serious message in some of the tee! hee! lyrics, plus the actual tunes are excellent and shouldn’t be ignored. ‘Buck Eejit’ started of brilliantly with ‘Someones going to get their head kicked in tonight’ ( Fleetwood Mac, Count Bishops ,The Rezillos, Shame Academy), followed by a run of very good originals which included lyrical gems like ‘The ballad of Terri Hooley’ & ‘Cameron U C***’. And even though they finished with ‘Dead Cities’ (The Exploited) I’ll not let that sway me lol ,I’m really looking forward to seeing them live again very soon.
Its been alongtime coming, but ‘Cheeko’ (Paul McCann) picked up were he left off all those years ago. I still remember him doing impromptu performances on the bus home from Feldon House. His love for the work of ‘John Cooper Clarke’ has remained undiminished . How he still remembers all those lines of poetry belonging to the ‘bard of Salford’ is beyond me . Been quite a while since I last heard ‘Kung Fu International’, welcome back mate!.
I’ll just get to the point and say it now and get it over with ‘The Defects’ were fantastic .If you were’nt here you missed out on one of the best ‘Defects’ shows I’ve ever attended .
As always there was the classic Defects tunes like ‘Dance until you drop , Survival and Brutality’ mixed with great cover versions of Janie Jones (The Clash) & In a Rut ( The Ruts), but we were also treated to three new songs ‘Revelator, Hill St , and a totally punked up reworking of ‘Get up Stand up’ ( Bob Marley) and that tells me only one thing , the new Defects album ‘XXX’ is going to be an absolute cracker .
Small dark clubs like this bring out the best in these lads , I think it might be a case of ‘Harp bar’ syndrome . Because as ‘Buck’ said from the stage “saturday nights were never better than back then”, well tonight mate at the Warzone you and your band brought us as close to those heady days as we’re ever going to get in 2012.
‘The Outcasts’ do attract a hardcore crowd, and this gig was no exception. There was a large contingent of skinheads present here tonight , some of them sporting ‘Skrewdriver’& ‘Sterngth thru oi!’ tshirts, which was a bit worrying at first. But nothing kicked off ,they got drunk, jumped around a bit and just had a good time.
Pre- ‘Outcasts’ set ‘$pikey $teve’ (‘VX’ lead guitarist )’ got his photo taken with the punk legend that is ‘Greg Cowan’ side-stage, and when the old guard met the new breed they swapped hairdressing tips lol.
Theres been a bit of reorganisation in ‘The Outcasts’ camp since their very successful comeback last summer. ‘Brian Young ‘(ex Rudi) has now returned to his full time job as frontman with Belfast’s greaser kings ‘The Sabrejets’ while ‘Petesy Burns’ (Stalag 17) has moved over to lead guitar, with ‘Greg Cowan’ back to his best handling both the vocals & bass duties. I thought they certainly missed the stage presence of Youngsy & the glampunkabilly raunch of guitar playing, but in a bizzare twist of fate I also thought the band were now now sounding a lot more like the ‘Outcasts’ of old from back in the days when Colin (RIP) & Getty were in the line up. They opened with ‘Nowhere left to run’ while struggling with poor lighting and dodgey monitors, but the Warzone crew were onto the technical problems right away and did their best to get them sorted quickly .I don’t know if it was because they came on very late and everyone was maybe too pissed, but the expectant excitement that greated them like returning heroes at their ‘Empire’ comeback in july was for some reason missing here tonight. The atmosphere was actually pretty subdued ,so much so in fact that after a couple of songs Greg asked the audience where are all the dancers?. But the ‘Outcasts’ weren’t going to let a minor inconvenience like that get them down, they played all the fan favourite tunes with ‘Mania , Frustration & Teenage Rebel’ the highlights of the show for me.
An excellent line up of acts ,a great night out & it all benefited a good cause , you can’t ask for more than that.
The Outcasts will be playing Dublin Button Factory 4th feb, plus they have a number of scottish shows also in feb . After that its the inaugural ‘Out of Control punk festival (also featuring UK Subs / Anti Nowhere League / Glen Matlock / Defects / Hooligan /VX / Retired Flag / Basic Translation etc etc etc ) here in Belfast 22-24 June at the ‘Emerald Roadhouse’, then its a return visit to the 2012 ‘Rebellion Festival .So it looks like they’re going to be busy for a while yet, catch them while you still can.