"OH BLEEDING HELL JACK, you mean you missed Red London? They were bloody brilliant, you know".Fresh out of the front row slam dance scrum, Johnny Oppo aka Atilla, pint pot in hand, sways and gives me a withering look. Ouch!
"They are a cross between Dexys and the Clash and have got the best new singer I've seen for years".Oh dear.
Red London come from the North East. Do we have a correspondent in the Newcastle/Sunderland area who can get onto their case immediately? Because if they're half as stirring as the outfit on the rostrum at the moment the band should be well worth checking.
Those roller-coaster harmonies, articulate, agitprop sentiments, and that head-splitting surge of electric rocket-ride speed, the Newtown Neurotics are absolutely magnificent now, no jest.They've always had a fine line in hard-nosed melodies but tonight the trio are miles on from their 'Beggars Can Be Choosers' era.
The Neurotics crackle with an essential confidence in their abilities and it transmits totally. Truly they are the most funful protest band around.
'Living With Unemployment', 'Agony', 'Wake Up', the whole litany of their heritage, social awareness with Heart, Humour and Suss, mixes up with new songs. 'Fools', a comment on Nazis inspired by a visit to Ann Frank's house in Holland; 'Suzi Is A Heartbreaker', two ugly people link-up via CB(Citizen Band radio) for an eyeball and find mutual communication in their loneliness.
There's something vitally human about the Neurotics, a tender trap of scarring emotions. They lose it once, 'Newtown People' becomes unhinged during Steve's short six-string solo, but it's no problem, Simon and Colin are a rhythm section tighter than the DHSS and are well able to compensate.
What is a problem though is this band are still playing pubs like this. A year ago I caught the Neurotics in the same venue entertaining and educating 150 people. There are perhaps twice as many here this evening, an improvement which doesn't reflect the press praise they've been garnered since then or the band's evolving excellence.
'Kick Out The Tories' blow torches among the encores and the slam-dance scrum go wild. Twelve months back I said I found the Neurotics more relevant, honest and inspiring than Strummer's crew.
It's still true today.
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