Visions Festival 2018 have added a special Friday night show in advance of the following days event. Sauna Youth / Bad Breeding / Fucked Up in a one room called Hanger in London Fields, East London. We couldn’t just ignore this one.
Keith Goldhanger went along to help kick start the weekend.
It hasn’t escaped us as we stand in this dark and fully conditioned room tonight that 250 miles up the road in Blackpool-on-Sea the annual punk Rock celebrations are on their way. Down south in Hackney-on-Concrete meanwhile the few that are left behind are witnessing an evening that is also a trip down memory lane but for different reasons.
Tonight we have three bands that it’s argued are probably as great (if not greater – but we won’t push this today) as the bands congregated at Rebellion once were.
SAUNA YOUTH remind one or two onlookers of the time we first heard Janie Jones by The Clash.
It’s leg shaking brilliant.
It’s a great, thrilling exciting half an hour.
BAD BREEDING are as good as Discharge were in 1982 or Flux of Pink Indians and Crass were in ’81. They manage to display elements of this genre that most bands of this ilk seemed to lose about the same time that we were swamped by more arty types that began rearranging the tunings on their guitars, slowed it all down, were vocal in their love for anything British and came from the US of A. The Stevenage four piece are intense as ever tonight, concentrating not on the throng in front of them but highly focused on the tools of their trade. They may have their back to us a lot of the time and they also seem to be ignoring each other, however the non stop barrage of furious noise just comes at us song after song. Tunes are thrashed at an agreeably fast pace with layers of feed back, samples of unrecognisable spoken word coming from somewhere, no introductions and no hands in the air moments. Simply four blokes who probably have parents that are currently propping up a bar in Blackpool at the moment quite aware that their children are spending their misspent youth sitting in vans and sleeping on floors in Eastern German squats, eating cheese every morning for breakfast and politely turning down big nights out with local punks whose hobby is drinking loads of cheap beer and setting litter bins on fire (We’ve all been there). Who cares as long as they continue thrashing out these kind of performances and EP’s that we get just as much as a buzz out of than when we were young and tiptoed upstairs at the end of the night trying not to wake up our own parents. Abandonment didn’t even get an inclusion in the set tonight and it was still brilliant.
Ditto FUCKED UP.
Damien ‘Pink Eyes’ looks fitter, younger and healthier and is hollering the vocals out at an even stronger ferocity than when we last saw him a couple of years ago. Gone are the days (we like to think) when he would swim along the bar, stick his head through a chandelier or crack open a beer can with his forehead. He scared us at first and he came across as a man on a self destructive journey and would end most shows covered in blood (my personal introduction with him came as I grabbed some paper from the gents and helped his head stop bleeding mid gig at The Old Blue Last). The end of a Fucked Up show now consists of a lot of sweaty hugging, short fast catching up conversations and a few cheerios until the next time.
This is day one of Visions festival – we sleep in our own beds with plans to be back by lunch time. This was ridiculously great, probably the gig of the year but we’d been drinking and setting fire to litter bins so there’s a chance all this may have been forgotten after another eight or nine shows that we’ll be present at before we go to Church on Sunday morning.
All words and photos by Keith Goldhanger. More writing by Keith on Louder Than War can be found at his author’s archive. You can also find Keith on Facebook and Twitter (@HIDEOUSWHEELINV). You may subscribe to the Goldhanger Shorts Facebook page or browse some of his photos too if you so wish