(review by MWJ)

The gigs are coming thick and fast in the Bay at the moment, but unfortunately the punters aren’t for this one. I’d been too busy during the day myself to attend the start of this all-dayer but Danny from the Mephs told me they’d played to themselves earlier on, and don’t think the number of people paying in outnumbered the band members for the rest of the evening either. Maybe folks can’t afford the frequency of events in these “harsh times”, or in particular were saving their pennies for Rebellion next weekend. Or maybe it’s just a reflection of the lack of interest that seems to exist on this forum too. Perhaps everyone prefers their own customised Facebook forum now.

Still, the quietness allowed for the two of Gandhi’s Cookbook to get across their acoustic guitar/minimum amped bass, practically busked songs well enough. International visitors from Dubai apparently though they must be around for a bit with repeated appearances here. They reminded me a bit of the country punk of Violent Femmes, and gave a bit of diversity in keeping with the headliner.

A War Against Sound from Blackburn had an ambitiously challenging name and while not taking a Whitehouse approach to that concept at least had a striking tack on their approach to punk. While there were familiar keystones of snotty hardcore and ska in the mix they also put a lot of almost jazz inventiveness in too through odd guitar chords and rapidly changing structures. Why they found Wales “hilarious” though I didn’t bother asking to avoid aggravation.

Minus Society had also taken a long trip up from London like the subsequent two bands, and it was pleasing to see them still throw themselves into the performance in spite of the lack of people to please. Noticeable how incredibly tight and punchy their playing of their melodic hardcore was, lots of practice/playing evidently paying off, that drive carrying things along even if they were a bit lacking in memorable hooks

As we were reminded it was a few years since Anonymous Tip’s last trip up here with Babar (the non-driver cadging a lift in their van), the Dudley that time. They come across just as effective in their energetic delivery, touching many bases within their sound centred again on intricate contemporary hardcore. There’s a real heartfelt emotion to their songs but they are also open and humorous in their encouragement to the “crowd”. Deservedly well received applause.

I’d had opportunity in the breaks to have a relaxed chat with Mr Luck and he’s a very amiable and earnest guy, even if he was suffering from withdrawal symptoms. When he takes to the floor though there’s a bit more aggression/menace to him, even if it is only released through his voice and acoustic guitar. He sings messages of tolerance and unity, calls for action that sit well within the ethos of the punk scene he’s been involved in since the 80’s. He name checks lots of UK punk bands that he references as the heart and origins of all that follow, to illicit appropriate cheers, though I wasn’t sure why Napalm Death and Carcass came into the equation too. Indeed, sometimes his twisted and twisting lyrical raps are a bit confusing to establish what he’s trying to get across, whether he’s being positive or angry about something, leaving folk a bit nervous but then what’s punk without an edge? Ultimately though, with his points raised and razed, he seems happy as are the rest of the attendees, especially with the hilarious bonus raffle where just about everybody won. So stay away the rest of you, it increases my chances.