(review + pix by Neil Crud)

They had a helluva head start on me, Fatman had downed his customary 2 bottles of red wine this afternoon, while Sync had sank a pint of vodka ‘n’ orange before heading for Blu. And Blu definitely was the colour as we watched Liverpool Reserves, err… sorry Man City come back from 0-3 down to beat Spurs 4-3 in the FA Cup. Was this the reason for the late start, or was it the bands battling with the PA (yes, that famous Blu PA)? The midnight bar makes it unfair on the last band who go on about 11.15pm as those who have work the next day will start to drift away. It used to work better when the bands were all done by normal closing time as the crowd were still there, yes let’s keep the midnight bar but ensure the first band is on at 9.00pm with allocated times – 9.00 to 9.30 then, 9.45 to 10.20 and 10.30 to 11.20 for the main band. It was just a suggestion!

How Xms3 (pic above) have improved since that night in Hendre Hall last April. The huge mohican of the front man Jake has gone (he must’ve got a job!) but they’ve added an extra zip to their songs, & although a couple do go down that Americanised punk-by-numbers route, the majority hold their own & they bounce along quite nicely. So there is life in Holyhead after all. We did recall the School Sucks My Cock tune, & had that happened to me in school I’d probably still be there now! Nice herr-flick haircut on the bassist (Dan?), all he needed was a Hitler ‘tache to complete the look!

The Cox (pic below) just get better and better & you know they are when followers of Gintis are nodding away in the crowd. Although the Gintis boys did state that they are far more punk rock than The Cox because Gintis never use more than 2 chords & don’t know how to tune their guitars! The Cox hammer out their set & nearly all the songs are recognisable. Guaranteed they played for too long again, it seems a customary trait of the band to always outstay their welcome, whereas a swift smash’n’grab like they did at The Crescent last week would be far more fitting for this no frills punk band.

So you have to feel for the tight as fuck Shatterhand (pic top of page & below) travelling all the way down from Thray Bonnie Scotland, not going on ‘til 11.10pm meant the crowd starts to dwindle, although it was still way way up on the 2 people that saw them the night before in Stone. I mean, who in their right mind would play a Tuesday night in Stone?! Who in their right mind would go out on a Tuesday night in Stone!? What of course sets Shatterhand apart from tonight’s other bands is Merchandise; yes, The Cox had their ‘Full Length’ LP & ‘Nailbomb The Dancefloor’ EP tucked away in their bags if anyone was brave enough to approach them afterwards, but Shatterhand had their CDs, t-shirts, badges & fanzines all neatly displayed & accessible. They call it Networking, & for the bands that do it, it is working. Look at Ethergy, Crave, Gape & Six Year Hangover; 4 bands I’ve seen in the last week, & not one CD between them available on the night, not one I could see anyway. Even a CDr sold for a quid is a profit, & more importantly you’re leaving a legacy in someones house, something they’ll play, & maybe play to their mates, who may come & see you next time & buy that CD etc. It’s called Advertising, if they don’t know you exist they won’t come & see you & won’t buy your CDs. It all goes hand in hand; spread your disease, sow your wild oats, you’re in a band playing gigs & making music for one reason; you’re in the entertainment business, so stop doing half a job.

You see, next weekend I’ll be out & wearing my Shatterhand t-shirt, having read the fanzine while on the bog & playing the CDs at my friends & then to you on my radio show. And why? Because they’re ace, they’re loud, they’re uncompromising, they’ve got a left hand guitarist & a skinny Neil Crud lookalike singer who thinks he’s 15 years younger than he is, AND because I’ve got their CDs, I got them at the gig. I’d’ve been doing the same with your band if I had your music (& of course if it’s any good).

Have I done enough ranting now? Have I made myself clear or was it all a pile of bollocks? Talking of male genitalia, I nearly had to carry Fatman & Sync out of Blu, for they were bollocksed, they were out on Blu Six.

(pix & review by Neil Crud)