(review n pix by neil crud)

I was sat at the bottom of Station Road in Colwyn Bay, munching on a mega-Armageddon hormone injected chicken (maybe cat) burger. Steve Sync was doing his hair this evening, Andy Fatman was distilling his liver and Wayne was being a Bastard. So I was solo tonight.
Observing all around me, this is Colwyn Bay; my old stomping ground, where I moved to as a 19 year old to escape the drug clutches of Rhyl. This where I became Neil Crud, where both 4Q and Sons of Selina emerged from.
Some things are an institution; the 4Q slogan painted on the railway station wall is still there, the KFC was built before Colwyn Bay, and across the road stands The Imperial Hotel.
I braced myself to walk in… Without sounding like the League of Gentleman bloke from Crème Brule, it was almost 19 years ago when I last set foot in this pub. I got barred for being part of that outrageous anti-establishmentarian punk rock band (their words, not mine) 4Q.
Fuck me! Nineteen years ago! They’ll be phoning us up for a 20th anniversary reunion on 12th July 2007.

The Upstarts (pic above) are a baggy sixties Beatlesq Ocean Colour Scene Scouse tinged pop band from the locale. Their formulae is to take the best bits from the best songs they know and make their own; the Oxford Dictionary defines it as the Noel Gallagher way. Take the second song for example, it opened with the signature tune for The Smiths’ This Charming Man and ran through the main riff of The Jam’s Town Called Malice. And who cares! If they get away with it, or even kick up a stink while doing so, then it’s all well and good. It’s warming to see a band come from out of nowhere on the local scene and be that musically accomplished.

My only gripe on the whole evening was giving each band a 45 minute set to play, and that’ll be down to naivety on the promoters’ behalf. Tonight is a Battle of the Bands final and I’ve never been an advocate of these kind of competitions as I think they suck. They’re unfairly judged, gerrymandered with the local heroes gaining the plaudits and generally any band who boasts themselves being a BoTB winner may as well admit being Colwyn’s Carnival Queen in 1996 – it holds that much status. What tonight did do is pull the 4 best entrants together on the same night and after 16 heats has given this town (this godforsaken town) regular live music from local non-tribute, non-covers bands. And, in the words of John Morris of Carpet – ‘We need the money to get some new recordings done.’

It wasn’t until 9.45pm that band No.2 made the stage their own. Having drawn lots to see the running order Lantern (pic above) picked out the second one and as I pointed out in my last review, they no longer fuck about (much). Their set is honed; it’s fucking loud and very angry. Singer Taff almost rips his throat out with a delivery robust enough to awaken even a KFC employee! Lantern tore through their set and every song was good except the two with the dual guitar solos – who do they think they are? The fucking Eagles!!

The now legendary Damir Bojanic in this very hot and sweaty crowd spotted me, and he questioned my verbal radio show assault on his mum’s breadbin. Then Die Kast Messiah’s ex keyboard player complained that I slagged him off in a review 3 years ago. The trials and tribs of being a critic eh! (Or is that cunt?). One day I’ll feel a dull thud on the back of my head and it’ll all be over.

I was uneasy, gaining a ‘U’ in mathematics at The Denbigh School for Backward Geniuses I was still able to work out that I was gonna get half of Inferno in and none of Carpet. That’s the problem with organising gigs, you have to think about the punters, when is the last bus or train home? It’s 11.20pm tonight actually and the bus stops going both ways were full of people who had reluctantly left The Imp a little over half way through proceedings due to it running so late. So you have to feel for Carpet, who I reckon probably played to the judges and the bar staff.

(pic above) both pleased and shocked me in the same initial breath. ‘Fuck me they’re good’ I thought as they slammed into the opening song that had something to do with motherfuckers redeeming in hell. This band possess an edge, and a huge stage presence and if you got close enough I’m certain singer-bassist Joe would spit right in your eye. I got Levitate and Choke under my belt and added Inferno to my Must See Again list and almost pondered hitch hiking home, maybe 19 years ago I would’ve done, instead I’ll do both Inferno and Carpet again soon.

The winners? The punters who saw tonight’s bands of course!!