Newtown Neurotics, Anti-Social Workers, Paul Wellings -
Dave T, Wake Up No4.
First on was ranter Paul Wellings of the Anti-Social Workers. Armed with a guitar, he came over like a cross between Billy Bragg and Attila the Stockbroker, which is no bad thing to be. His rants were powerful and well aimed and he put a lot of effort into them.
After some trouble with the PA and a long soundcheck, the Anti-Social Workers took the stage.
A magazine called 'Class War' was being sold at the gig. I don't know what connection it has with the ASW's but Tim Wells waved it around a couple of times, so it must have the bands approval. That's a pity 'cos it glorifies violence and seemed ill at ease with the rest of the gigs content (say, the Neurotics 'Mindless Violence'). Much as I hate the idle pampered rich, there is NO WAY that 'killing the bastards' (as the ASW's first rant went) is going to solve ANYTHING. The glorification of 'punching and kicking' people because you don't like them is, I'm afraid to say, a pretty fascist attitude. A great pity because everything else about the ASW's I like. Some of their songs went on too long, but that isn't to say that they don't do them well, and they deserve credit for doing reggae properly, even if they weren't actually playing the music. With the addition of a female vocalist they've added some good vocal harmony, and their songs and rants were well directed against such things as 'romance' racism and sexism ('Pagan Man').
Then came Attila himself, launching straight into the hilarious mock rap rant 'Livingstone Rap' which like most of Attila's work was very funny and very serious at the same time.
Others of his classic rants got an airing (Bang and a Wimpy, Russians in McDonalds, Nigel wants to go to C&A's), plus some newer ones like 'Radio Rap', and of-course 'Away Day' with the unforgettable chorus "Bollocks to that ' (an anthem for the 80's?). The mandolin was brought out for a couple of songs and he was finally joined by Ruth on flute for 'Sawdust and Empire'. It was a powerful performance and pissed as he undoubtedly was, Attila's words rang out loud and clear, and the sweat flowed faster than bullshit in a Garry Johnson column.
So finally the Neurotics. They blazed away as usual with a typically great performance. The usual set classics were belted out, plus a couple of new 'uns,
'The Mind of Valerie', and 'Creatures From Another World'. It was also good to see that they've brought one of their old songs 'Bored Policemen' back into the set, another fine reggae inspired number. One side note: I felt that the Neurotics were let down by the slightly poxy PA, which just didn't do justice to their glorious sound. They sounded great live (and always do) but (and I don't think it was my imagination), the soundcheck seemed to sound even better. Maybe I'm just neurotic, I dunno (ha ha ). Anyway, the gig was a benefit for the Doledrum Unemployed and Youth Music co-op, and in addition, a couple of buckets were passed round to collect for the miners, so it was all in a good cause.
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