Zombina & The Skeletones
Mello Mello, Liverpool
Thursday 20th December 2012

I frantically check my watch…still 15 minutes to go; I’ve just sent out the last ‘goodbye’ round robin text to friends and family – the clock is ticking down to Armageddon…all that remains is to hurl myself around Mello Mello serenaded somewhat appropriately by the horror punk surf doo-wop sounds of Zombina & The Skeletones as they play their last gig of the year…or possibly forever!

Except that didn’t happen…darn those pesky Maya with their dodgy calendars; is it any wonder their civilisation perished if they failed to even master the basics of date and time…

Zombina & The Skeletones however have clearly mastered the subtle art of entertaining a crowd, this despite the fact that they were for this ‘Free Rock’N’Roll’ gig reduced to a four piece – rumours (so far unfounded) abound that missing members had headed to Bugarach, France to witness aliens ascend from the local mountain but had been arrested by local Police, apparently they were trying to test the security cordon thrown around the village and nearby mountain of Bugarach, where scores of police were deployed to head off a potential influx of New Age fanatics and sightseers.

Zombina, herself in uncharacteristically subdued attire rallied the un-dead as they belted through opener ‘Punk Rock Vampires’ which ignited the crowd including support Rat Bit Kit, now taken to shufflin and shakin as if escaped from The Walking Dead.

ZATS have been criticised in the past for being a parody of a genre, that’s a lazy view – tonight they mean business, it might be mortuary business but their ability to effortlessly blend surf, garage and doo-wop then deliver it with a punk attitude is to be commended – their sound is driven by a rich deep sax, which contrasts with the high pitched lead vocals, the whole sound under-pinned by some seriously deranged tribal drumming; we re-visit both the 2012 singles, the glorious ‘Teenage Caveman’ and the recent ‘That Doll..Just Tied To Kill Me” which displays that despite the years ZATS have been around they both remain as crucial as ever and thankfully have not lost their schlock horror trademark humour.

2012 was an odd year for ZATS, just three UK gigs and a sole physical release, apparently a new album is set for release in 2013, Zombina herself informed us that “next year will be different” – this is encouraging, as for a group cobbled together from the ranks of those in perpetual limbo they are very much alive.

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Phil Newall is 47, from The Wirral - he earns his living not writing about music nor playing music...though sorely wishes he could. He was fortunate enough to see many of the first generation punk bands when they played the U18's matinee shows at Eric's, Liverpool. As an attendee at Eric's he was exposed to punk rock, dub reggae, art rock, and all manner of weirdness; as a customer at Probe Records he was variously served and scowled at by Pete Wylie and Pete Burns - he has written for Record Collector, Whisperin & Hollerin, and Spiral Scratch and wanted to write a book detailing the Liverpool punk scene; however with 'Head-On' Julian Cope beat him to it...and frankly did a much better job.

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