This gig was a benefit for Love Music Hate Racism, two sentiments with which I'm sure everyone reading this will agree – both of you! Ha ha ha! Please get your friends to read our blog. Or don't bother. It's not like we just sit here all day obsessively checking our hit counter and referral log... Anyway, Love Music Hate Racism were backing the gig to raise awareness of the BNP, and what terrible fascists they still are, despite their paper-thin claims to the contrary. Bearing this in mind, imagine the thoughts that raced through my head when I noticed the entrance a gang of shaven-headed, hard-as-nails types wearing Stone Island and other “casual” clothing. Was the gig being infiltrated by fascists, like those 80s hardcore gigs I read about in MRR? Was there gonna be a riot? Am I typing this review with broken knuckles and stab wounds, smearing my own blood all over the keyboard? Read on to find out...
Anyway, first up were Puzzles, who are not mentioned above because we got there too late to see them. Sorry, Puzzles. We did, however, see Flamingo 50, a band who I went through a phase of adoring but who, for reasons I am not entirely sure of, I haven't seen play for a couple of years. They were on cracking form: singer Louise wasn't quite as manic as she had been in the past which made for a tighter but perhaps less energetic set, and while all of the songs bar the opener were too recent for me to know, I still greatly enjoyed their scuzzy brand of shouty pop-punk, including a marvellous thrash through J Church's “The Heroic Trio”.
I'm sure I've seen Voo before and been unimpressed, but tonight they were quite splendid: most agreeable catchy indie-pop, complete with amusing between-song banter (“If you want to see us again, we're playing a BNP fundraiser next week”). If you ever wished The Shins rocked out a bit more, then do give Voo a try – I'll certainly be looking out for them in the voo-ture. (Oh, come on!)
Last up were street-punk heroes the Down & Outs, one of Marko Grampus 8's many, many musical projects. Seriously, this guy should be respected as Liverpool's finest crafter of pop songs since Lennon & McCartney. Upfront, straightforward, catchy anthems of the working class to sing and chant along to are what the Down & Outs do, and they do it very, very well. During their set there was the best moshpit I've seen at a gig for some time: energetic and aggressive but not violent or unpleasant. Punk at its purest – exactly how a punk gig should be. And the “skinheads” I was wary of earlier? Loving every minute! Singing/screaming along at the tops of their voices! That'll teach me to be prejudiced, eh readers? So apologies to the shaven-headed fellows, and hurrah for Love Music Hate Racism. And please, please vote on Thursday, unless you're planning on voting for the BNP, in which case please, please take a toaster into the bath with you instead.