A first gig of the year after a couple of abortive attempts were blocked by train strikes and I finally get to take in The Subhumans in the annual Punk festival in The100 Club – the scene of a number of good gigs I’ve enjoyed before. A long trip beckoned, but a hopefully worthwhile one nonetheless to finally see a band I’ve quite liked for a number of years now, complete with You and Knock Off in support duty.
First up are You, a three-piece Punk n’ Roll outfit, who start to what is, sadly, a pretty quiet room. This does pick up through what is a quite enjoyable set, with a bass, guitar/lead vocals and drumming backing vocalist working well in synergy with each other. The songs are likable and different enough that it’s easy to distinguish where the start and stop, even when they merge into each other a couple of times. There is a decent level of enjoyment from the crowd, with heads nodding, plenty of clapping and even a couple of people dancing away as they progress through their set. It does take until just before the end for them to mention the band name, which is just as well as at that point, as some didn’t seem too certain on which support they were! We even get a snippet of AC/DC‘s ‘Whole Lotta Rosie’ as an intro halfway through the set, which worked quite well alongside their own material, which is certainly in the Rock end of the Punk spectrum. An enjoyable set, worthy of watching further.
It’s a slightly more experienced act up next, as Knock Off take to the stage, and the Punk sound has extra pace to our previous Punk n’ Roll act, staying so throughout their set. My early worries about a poor turnout are quashed during them playing, as the room gets to a quite acceptable standard of busy. These guys may be older, but their eighties Punk spirit is clearly emblazoned on their chests, as Andy on vocals makes mention to the things happening in the UK at the moment and how we will be affected by them – quite in keeping for what I would expect from this type of band. Their music is enjoyable and gets a few of the younger audience members moshing along, as their old school sound rings out around the venue. They’re a tight act and get plenty of applause during and after their set, showing quite how well they’ve gone down. A good showing!
Time for our headliners then in the form of The Subhumans and the Anarcho-Punk legends very rarely disappoint! The room is looking fuller still now – a pity so many missed both the excellent supports, but their loss, not ours! There is an almost tangible electricity in the air as they come quickly on the stage, with no fanfare and launch straight into their first song. We get nothing from the band but pure energy, and those with the vigour are happy pitting and stage diving away to their heart’s content – almost bringing a tear to this cynical old bugger’s eye – returning with gusto what they’re getting from the band. The set lasts just shy of an hour, barely more than the main support, but hardly entirely unexpected, given the thirty-eight years the band have been going already!
We have time for several fan favourites such as ‘Businessman’, ‘Animal’, ‘Too Fat, Too Thin’ along with every bit of anger and political commentary they have ever produced and indeed it’s great to see them on such fine form. Dick gets caught in the face a couple of times through the gig, as the lack of barrier to prevent people spilling on to the stage takes its toll, though none of it deliberate or intended to cause harm, in the great spirit Punk has of community. That’s what tonight feels like, a family get together, along with the punch-ups that happen after a few drinks, before dusting themselves off at the end and shaking hands/embracing/chatting away happily to each other. It’s a fantastic feeling throughout, with various age groups all well represented and getting on great with each other. The way our communities have been before and should continue in future, united as one.
They may be getting on in age now, but The Subhumans certainly still know how to party in style. Viva la Revolucion!
WORDS & PHOTO DJ ASTROCREEP