Newtown Neurotics, Attila The Stockbroker, The Men They Couldn't Hang -
Caxton House, Archway, London 12.8.84
(A benefit for the Miners Strike)
Dave T, Wake Up No4.
It was a shame that this gig clashed with the New Model Army gig at the Clarendon, but as usual with the Neurotics, there was an enthusiastic turnout nonetheless.
My apologies to all the ranters present tonight, but I was absent during their stint as I had been forcibly dragged into the pub across the road (much against my will) by a member of Action Pact. (Watch out for Porky though, in the next issue). I got back in time to catch the middle of another impressive set by Attila who rounded off with 'Airstrip One' and 'Sawdust and Empire', with Ruth as usual on flute.
The Neurotics kicked off with 'Wake Up', which was dedicated to this fanzine, but I won't let that cloud my review at all when I say that this was probably the best I've ever seen 'em (and that's saying something). Besides old faves like 'March', 'No Respect', Bored Policemen' and 'The Mess' there was a lot of new numbers getting an airing tonight, such as 'Valerie', 'Creatures', 'Never Hold Your Tongue' 'Suzi' 'Fighting Times' and 'Sects' and I'm pleased to say that their new stuff is just as good as the old.
I wouldn't have thought that a basketball gym would be acoustically ideal for a gig, but the Neurotics sound was spot on. Forget everything I said about their sound in the last review, tonight they were brilliant. The guitars and drums blazed out powerfully and the vocals rang out crystal clear over the top. (Who the fuck was the 'Sounds' reviewer who said they couldn't make out a word?). The best description of the Neurotics is simply to say that it's protest music at it's best, and the message was hammered home loud and clear. 'Fighting Times' is lyrically along the same lines as 'Get Up And Fight'. The lyrics of 'The Mess' were changed to "Come on, come on, don't be slow, be like the NUM (National Union of Mineworkers - webmaster), strike man, strike". They finished with the opening bars of 'Kick Out The Tories', which led into 'Living With Unemployment', again with the lyrics changed to a statement about Northern Ireland, which led into a rousing chorus of 'Can't you see? How well rehearsed, when the troops march into our street'.
The band obviously enjoyed themselves tonight, putting everything into it (Steve only pausing once to announce "Someone's written 'Dead Cities' on my set list, I think that's a mistake!) and looked knackered at the end of it. An encore of 'Mindless Violence' rounded off a truly inspiring gig, and walking down the street afterwards it was great to see skinheads shouting out anti nazi chants. Barriers will indeed break.
The only question remaining is where do the Neurotics go from here? (Something I was asking myself a year ago). They're unlikely enough not to have got the proper backing behind them , which while it's seen them tied to their grass roots following, hasn't seen them reaching the big market that they deserve, and which they could conquer if they had the right backing. (Quite strange really, considering their potentially wide appeal). I suppose the time isn't right in a climate of Kajagoogoo and Duran Durans, but when the serious fightback begins, then it must surely be bands like the Neurotics who are going to be at the forefront of that attack.
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