A clash with both a European football match and Metal goddess Doro were ill omens for the potential attendance of my next gig in Australian up and comers The Lazys, with Canadian two-piece The Standstills in support. I head on over to Manchester to catch the two acts, with The Standstills on their first playing visit to British soil, to see what the bands can serve up for us.Continue reading
A beloved haven of British punk rock, the Star and Garter pub is rough and ready, but a great setting for an intimate performance from SST Records luminaries Bl’ast. Many will have felt the pull of guest rhythm section, namely former Queens Of The Stone Age men Joey Castillo and bass playing hellraiser Nick Oliveri, himself fresh off his second solo acoustic tour of the UK. Make no mistake about it, this is a set of high-octane punk from a much overlooked underground act that helped shape the face of American hardcore.
Before the main event it’s time for Denim and Leather to warm up an already sweaty venue with their skinny frontman flailing across the stage. The group mainline Black Flag intensity with a few soiled Discharge riffs in an effective manner, warming things pleasantly for the headliners.
Bl’ast are like a kick to the gut. The predominantly thirty plus audience really wake up to the raw intensity before them. Vocalist Clifford Dinsmore passes the mic around and Oliveri hammers out guttural basslines while Castillo is a hive of activity behind the kit. Focussing heavily upon their It’s In My Blood and Take The Manic Ride records, this may be an exercise in punk rock nostalgia but it cannot be denied that this old workhorse can still “go”.
A frantic moshpit ensues at the front of the stage with Dinsmore gleefully egging the crowd on, with the punters hanging on his every word. Even members of Denim and Leather get in on the action hurling each other around amongst the audience. The venue may be an intimate one but it is barely able to contain the celebratory atmosphere within it.
The punishing “Something Beyond” rides another grimy Oliveri bassline with Castillo beating his drums with such vigour he manages to dislodge a fan from the app above him. Without missing a beat he hurls the offending item into the audience who catch it and parade it around like a trophy before dumping it unceremoniously back on-stage.
They may be greying, but this was still a righteous display of exuberance which belied their veteran status.
WORDS BY ROSS BAKER