The UK Subs and Demob
Bristol, The Fleece
19th May, 2012

35 years since they started playing together The Uk Subs are still killing it live, read Simon Barton’s review of their recent gig at Bristol’s The Fleece below.

Old Punks never die… they just keep on touring!

Hardy punk perennials the UK Subs brought their scuzzed-up, r’n’b-flavoured brand of mayhem to Bristol’s grimy Fleece on Saturday night… just after the football. While Subs-supremo Charlie Harper was sitting in the pub next door, savouring Chelsea’s victory and the local beer, the Fleece’s stage was invaded by legendary Gloucester street-punks, Demob.

With such terrace-chant anthems as Teenage Adolescence and Anti-Police sounding no less relevant today than when they were first bellowed out, Demob are loud, proud and punk, and can boast one of the best drummers on the scene in the form of Marcus, aka “Elmer Thudd”, and one of the most committed, passionate frontmen in Andy K, lanky and lairy on stage, a real gent offstage. And their last song, the classic lament of lost venues and lost youth, No Room For You, caused an outbreak of mass punk euphoria and even compelled this blogger, who’s old enough to know better, to join the boys onstage for the shouty chorus. It seemed a good idea at the time…
And then it was time for “the hardest gigging Punk band of them all”  -  Charlie, Alvin, Jet and Jamie, the UK Subs. Whether blasting out ’70s classics like Warhead and Stranglehold or hitting us with equally fiery, catchy new songs, the Subs were as powerful and vital as ever.

Charlie is still the consummate Punk frontman, commanding the stage and the audience with an energy and vocal ability which belies his ( gulp! ) 67 years. And the crowd ( Punks young and old ) went wild: the packed-out Fleece became a seething mass of bodies, moshing and stage-diving for all we were worth, only stopping when technical difficulties forced the band off the stage for a brief respite. But the show must go on, as it has for the last 35 years, and the Subs returned to reward the faithful with the sing/shout-along likes of Tomorrow’s Girls and CID, leaving us battered, bruised and deafened but happy, while the band headed off for the next stop in their Never-Ending Tour. Eat your heart out, Bob Dylan!

All words by Simon Barton. Simon blogs from The Glass Walking Stick which can be found here.

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  1. Charlie is of course a legend. Sorry to learn that support act Demob – in particular singer Andy (“a real gent offstage”) – are still being tolerated on the punk scene. See the following article, originally posted on punk stalwart Peter Don’t Care’s Nihilism on the Prowl site, currently in partial abeyance:


  2. @ Rex King Rex

    I speak as I find and I have personally had no problem with Andy or any other members of Demob. I have known Andy as an acquaintance for a few years and have always found him to be friendly, polite and generous. The incidents mentioned in your link certainly sound unfortunate but the fact that Demob are still playing so many high-profile gigs on the Punk scene point to the fact that they are more than just “tolerated”…

  3. You should have mentioned the opening band! The Richard Heads… Charlie liked them – he’s wearing their t’shirt at the gig! :)

  4. Fun gig, pretty sure I snapped you in this pic with my mate Ted.



  5. Not guilty :-)
    The guy on the left I don’t know, but he’s a major Demob fan, the bloke next to Teddy is Graham, another Stroud punk.

    I was ( briefly ) on the other side of the stage, crowding out guitarist Terry – oops!


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