Support: Braxton Hicks, Last Gang In Town
The Tivoli, Buckley
Thursday 22nd November 2012
The floodgates opened and the dogs of war unleashed the wrath of god upon us. Basically, it fucking pissed it down all day. So much that I got a call at 3pm to say the A55, A5 and North Wales coast train line were closed due to flooding, and our drummer, Gwion was the wrong side of the water with no paddle. Fuck!
Main-man, Joe and myself are sat in the Marine [sic] in Old Colwyn; itâs my birthday and were drowning [sic – again] our sorrows with a pint of Kronenberg. I canât go home to Bangor as the roads are closed. We canât do the gig as Gwion is marooned. We asked ex-Sons of Selina drummer, Cumi if heâd stand in, but he doesnât know the songs. What a downerâ¦
The decision was made to go to Buckley anyway and enjoy the gig. We may as well leave now as to ensure we got in as a âbandâ rather than a punter.
The journey was pretty silentâ¦ Yeah we wanted to see the Subs, but we were supposed to be supporting them tooâ¦
Last Gang in Town and UK Subs were milling around backstage when Joe and myself turned up; bits of drum kit were being set up and amps were being rolled in. I saw soundman (he is a sound man), Chris White and told him our bad news and he said, âThereâs plenty of drummers knocking about, see if Last Gangâs will stand in for you.â
Itâs not that simple though as our songs are not that simple. We met up with Subs mainstay Charlie Harper and relived tales of yore. He was telling us they played on the south coast last night and spent all day travelling up here and then a long journey to Glasgow tomorrow, he was concerned as the weather may have prevented them from getting here today. We said how gutted we were that Gwion was stranded and we couldnât do the show. Charlie quipped, âAsk Jamie, heâll do it. Heâs a great drummer.â
Joe and me were still dubious, no one can learn your songs in an hour and we didnât want to make cunts of ourselves.
The UK Subs did their sound check, and we thought, âFuck it, letâs ask him,â and approached Jamie with Charlieâs suggestion. âYeah, of course Iâll do it! Get me a copy of the songs and Iâll learn them.â (!!!)
With 4 of our tracks on Soundcloud, Jamie sat in the dressing room nursing a hangover and taking in our songs as we tucked into curry and rice. Last Gang sound-checked and their bassist and guitarist are probably the two friendliest band-persons Iâve ever met, letting us use their amps, helping us get the right sound, even tuning our guitars! Jamie came down and we sound checked Get Outta My Head â fuck me! Heâs nailed that song in 5 minutes, the beat, the stops, the changes!! â he said heâll have the other 3 learnt with the half hour that weâre due on stage.
He wasnât messing â a makeshift Braxton Hicks got on and slammed ‘Never Kill Yourself, Macho Man, Gone Fishinâ and Get Outta My Head’ in ten minutes; not a beat misplaced! Plenty of bass notes all over the place though ha ha â but it was a great buzz.
Last Gang in Town, to be fair to them are the right band in the wrong place. Theyâre a covers band, a punk tribute band, which is fine if youâre at a party, or a wedding, but not at a punk gig where a real band could be playing. Despite this they belted out New Rose, Holidays In The Sun, Pretty Vacant, California Uber Alles, Alternative Ulster, If The Kids Are United etc etc, to much aplomb.
UK Subs are masters of their game. Was chatting with loudethanwar.com writer Phil Newall, and we both agreed theyâre not just a punk band; thereâs a lot of blues under-currents in those songs, which have been accentuated since early 80s bassist, Alvin Gibbs re-joined the ranks. The set is shorter than when I last saw them (at Rebellion â see review), but they are relentless and tight as fuck, only occasionally pausing for breath.
Braxton Hicks new drummer Jamie Oliver (heh-heh!) took on an added interest, and you are sometimes distracted from the man at the back when youâve got legends like Charlie Harper and Alvin Gibbs upfront, flanked by the tireless and slick as fuck guitarist Jet. Yet Jamie is a machine and smashed that kit into the podium. Top class.
UK Subs tour relentlessly, from small back street clubs to huge arenas and festivals worldwide, and the one main thing about them is they keep it punk rock. There was/is no primadonna, holier-than-thou or an ounce of pretention about the UK Subs â youâre born a rocker, you die a rocker, you live on the road, you play your punk rock, you live your punk rockâ¦ Iâm green with envy.
I was earlier reminding Charlie that I once put a gig on for them in Colwyn Bay in 1987 and the âguaranteed accommodationâ I offered was actually my living room floor! He raked his memory banks and quipped, âWas it at a bikers club?â â He was almost right; I actually had the local Hells Angels do the security at the gig! Not a bad recollection when you consider heâs probably done something in excess of 5000 gigs since then. Hereâs to the next 5000â¦
Pics Phil Newall