After a day in North Wales visiting my son Evan, Rachel and I took the opportunity to stop in Gloucester on the way home to check out this intriguing line-up. Hit the venue just before doors at 8 pm, so got cokes in to try to wake us up after the long drive South; then suddenly the Gloucester under-17 punk rock posse turned up - hordes of rude and misbehaving brat kids! Bah!
Took a wander into the hall for the first band, the splendidly-named 80's Matchbox B-Line Disaster, on at 8.45. The springy floor at this venue certainly got a good workout as the punk rock kids went for it in an apeshit slam-dancing frenzy. I quite liked their set, full of energy and venom without the clumsy self-pitying anger of the Nu Metal posse. Musically they were a midway point between the old school manic psychobilly of the Meteors, and the metronome Goth of Ministry. A couple of things were however lacking - practice, and tunes!
Back to the bar with a tired Rach to get out of the road of the screaming brats, before Portugal's The Parkinsons, who came on at 9.30. They're named after the disease, allegedly, which say it all about their attitude, and when they say, "The Parkinsons are punk rock," I'm glad to report they mean it, maaaan - punk rock as in shirts-off, anarchic terrace-chant choruses spat out with a Rotten-esque vocal delivery. "They're like the "Batman At The Launderette" group," remarked Rach after one song, which nailed it - they were The Shapes, The Drones, The Models, every bile-filled one chord wonder punk band rolled into one, and cryogenically preserved for the last 25 years. Needless to say, I loved them - all the star-jumps, the Stooges posturing, the crowd stage invasion, the lot!
Headliners Ikara Colt are equally angry and bilious, but whereas The Parkinsons recall a whole slew of 70's punk bands, some memorable, some anonymous, da Colt are The Fall, pure and simple. Acerbic, confrontational, surly and sinister, with a superb drummer, they again put on an edgy, passionate performance, much more suited to the bigger stage provided by the Guildhall. An early "One Note", with its' indecipherable chant, and closer "Sink Venice" were the highlights for me, but the whole set in all its hard-edged, venomous glory bodes well for the forthcoming debut CD.
So all in all, Steve Lamacq (who wrote the blurb for this tour, calling it, "the most exciting package tour you'll see this year") might have a point. Certainly exciting, very retro, and a couple of names to look out for in The Parkinsons and Ikara Colt. Punk rock all over again!