Thursday, 10 December 2009

701 NEW MODEL ARMY, David R Black, Oxford Zodiac, Wednesday 24 May 2006

Yup, that's right, New Model Army! Following a recent reappraisal of all the music I've ever been into, and the dearth of, well, anything really new happening, I was kind of intrigued by this one when Rich suggested it to me (plus I owed him a favour as he's joining me for the Bunnymen next weekend). Rich also burned me a NMA mix CD which wasn't half bad actually, bringing back lots of memories of late 80's-early 90's Lev Indie Nights!

So off we did trot, joining the old punkers at the Zodiac once again, hitting the venue at 7.30 in the rain. First act on, David R Black, was a similar old punker type, black-clad and militant, playing some strident rock somewhere between "War"-era U2 and the breathy goth of Placebo. Better after he turned his guitar up as well. Nice chap too, as we chatted briefly afterwards.

The place was stuffed to the gunnels as New Model Army time approached at 9. Rich and I took a spot 2/3rds back, stage centre for a good view, and we were glad we weren't closer, as from the outset of NMAs set, there was a large moshpit full of shirtless skinheads, which stopped just in front of where we stood. NMAs crowd had come to dance, no messin'!

Vocalist Justin Sullivan, the only original member remaining, was the focal point, leading the Army through an early acoustic strumalong part of the set, which nevertheless still had the moshpit moving. I'd actually owned the first New Model Army album, back in 1984, but my musical fashion moved quickly away thereafter from the political punk sloganeering which is NMA's staple output. Nowadays, however, I can view them as a good, anthemic political punk band in the same vein as Stiff Little Fingers. Just because they were 10 years too late for the punk thing in the first instance, that really doesn't matter in 2006, does it?

So, "Wonderful Way To Go" was fast and frantic, the manifesto "Vagabonds", with its fiddly diddly riffery replaced by guitar "live" was sing-along and inclusive, and their best and best-known number, the amped-up and vicious "No Rest For The Wicked" was exciting and completed an impressive double punch. So overall, an entertaining and thoughtful 1 3/4 hours of preaching to the converted, but you never know, I may very well be back again!

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