“Is this the way to 1982?”
I’m struggling for the obligatory Olympic metaphor for today. It would probably be the decathlon or something and would involve a lot of sprinting as today has the most bands that I want to see, and a lot of them are on different stages overlapping. There are tough choices to be made. Not a good day to wake up having failed to actually get into bed and not feeling particularly well. Never mind, a good fry up sorts that out, and I have a relaxing morning watching TV in my room. For some reason the TV automatically puts up subtitles when you switch on or change channel. Watching BBC Olympic coverage with subtitles I see an interview with swimmer “Rebecca Alan Linton”!
One of the themes of my day is reformed UK 80s punk bands. I like UK 80s punk bands, I don’t know if I’ve ever mentioned that before. Most of today’s crop I haven’t seen before or for a long time. The range from the obscure (The Patrol – a good set, NOT the band that became the Stone Roses), to influential cult bands (The Mob) to those that almost made it big (Anti Pasti).
The other theme of my day seems to be best summarised as “frontmen behaving oddly”. This starts off with Canadian band Maximum Rock & Roll, whose singer seems to be very excited about various t-shirts being worn by audience members, and then starts to take his clothes off. Later in the evening he randomly stops me in the street and excitedly compliments me on my Anthrax t-shirt, and probably calls me “dude”. It dawns on me that probably thinks it’s the metal band Anthrax, not the old Crass band, buthe seems like a nice guy and I don’t feel like breaking the news to him as he’s so excited!
Most painful clash of the day comes with two 80s bands: Blackpool band The Fits and The Mob. The Fits do a fine set , although singer Micky Crudge is the next “frontman behaving oddly”, throwing peculiar shapes and poses throughout. My mate nails it when he says “he wants to be Pete Murphy”. They break one of the most important rules of band comebacks by missing out some of their best known songs in favour of songs they didn’t release at the time. The set closer is a single they never released! They do play all my favourites though so I’m happy. Here’s them playing Bravado, one that they did actually release.
I’m even happier when I make a dash to see brooding anarcho “hippy punks” The Mob in time to see them play the classic Witch Hunt(below), as well as several other of my favourites.
The Mob are playing in the Pavillion which today is hippy punk central. Yes there is such a thing as hippy punk, centred around Crass and their fellow travellers. Poet ANDY T dedicates a sarcastic poem to stereotypical “real punks” concluding “I wish they’d piss off back to 1982”. Later on are free festival veterans Here & Now, but I don’t hang around, as I’m planning to spend most of the rest of the night in1982.
First it’s back even further to 1977 to see Chelsea, fronted by the ancient Gene October. He is also behaving slightly oddly, leaning backwards throughout the set as if trying to stand up in a strong wind. Is our collective flatulence that bad? At least he’s in a good mood today, it can be a bit cringeworthy when he has a strop.
Next stop 1982 (or the Arena) to see Peter & Test Tube Babies. Amazingly in the middle of the usual greatest hits set they throw in a new song, When Girlfriends Attack (“It’s a good job I don’t have a rabbit for a pet”!). Couple of topic suggestions for JonD – Songs About Girlfriends ; Songs About Attacks.
It’s then a dash to catch most of the Restarts set. They go down a storm as usual and from what I can see blow Conflict off the stage when they appear shortly afterwards. Conflict are possibly playing well, but the sound is poor. The nail in the coffin though is another frontman behaving oddly. Colin Jerwood is more incomprehensible than usual, and between songs is slurring about how much he’s missed us. You would almost get the impression that he’s had quite a lot to drink. The Conflict loyalists of course maintain that they are brilliant. Strange.
Biggest pre-set build up of the day is for the newly reformed Anti Pasti in the Ballroom: some kind soundtrack of WW2 bombers in sensurround . Then ANTI PASTI hit the stage and are ….quite good. Frontman Martin Roper obliges by behaving oddly, wearing Eric Morecambe glasses and doing lots of comedy running about. This doesn’t stop the old favourites Another Dead Soldier and No Government going down a storm.
This year another venue is open, the seated Opera House. I make that 5, 6 if you coun the bar where they have the acoustic sets, 7 if you count both stages in the Olympia. Is that all the venues, or are there any more hidden away in the Winter Gardens? This venue is being used mainly for bands best described as “vaguely associated with punk”, eg The Only Ones. Tonight I go there and watch Bow Wow Wow. The music’s not bad either
Moving swiftly on…
Time to head back to the B & B. I’ve paced myself much better today. Tomorrow is the marathon though.