The Defects, Noise Agents, The Gakk, Hooligan, Subsonic, Organ Grinders, Lost Soul
@ the Pavilion Bar, Belfast, 21/04/12
Arrived late to find we'd already missed the first three acts and especially disappointed on not seeing French band Subsonic who, we were told, were excellent! Ah well, can't win 'em all. Decent turnout for this event considering there were a couple of other gigs taking place elsewhere in the city.
Stopped for a smoke and a chat with a couple of lads from The Gakk (sound lads they were too) but in doing so we feckin' missed most of Dublin band Hooligan's set. I hadn't seen them before but had to make do with the last few songs. Wish I'd caught the full set as I really liked what I heard. Guitar driven, anthemic punk, kinda like the Angelic Upstarts circa 2 Million Voices with a touch of The Clash and The Ruts added to the mix ( a wee reggae vibe running through some of the songs). Standout song had to be No Blacks, No Irish, No Dogs - a real fist-pumping punk rock song with one helluva catchy sing-a-long chorus. Talk of this being released as a single - hope so, it has 'punk classic' written all over it! This was Stevie Smyth's last gig with Hooligan (due to logistical problems) and we wish him well in his next venture (whatever that may be). I hope Hooligan find a suitable replacement as I look forward to hearing more from them in the future.
Popped outside for a ciggie and returned just as those young Dundalk upstarts The Gakk were kicking into their set. Well impressed with this wee band who gave it their all on stage and were unperturbed when some moron threw a pint round them midway through their set. Kinda reminded me of bands like the Fits and Action Pact with elements of the Uk Subs and Clash thrown in for good measure. Hate to say I don't remember the song titles, not because the songs weren't memorable, it's more of a relection on my shockingly bad memory (which is steadily getting fucking worse). Another band I hope to hear more of soon.
Next up were English punks Noise Agents fronted by Andy K. ex Demob. I'll admit I was never a huge Demob fan, although I did like a few of their songs, especially No Room For You. Noise Agents are nothing like Demob and much more up my street! Loved everything about this band. They sweated their bollox off to provide us with a fun filled set of pogo-tastic sing-a-long terrace anthems (think Cock Sparrer / Lurkers / Guitar Gangsters rolled into one). Standouts were Punk Rock Dead and (their England World Cup song) Indestructible, which is one of the best punk rock songs I've heard in years! Its got one of those choruses that instantly bores into to your brain and you find yourself singing it (subconsciously) for days on end! Fucking brilliant! Andy K. is passionate about punk and the scene, even taking time out during the set to have a rant about the lack of unity and certain cliques controlling the live scene (making reference to certain people in a certain city) some of which could equally apply to our own scene here! I definitely wanna hear more from this band.
It made sense to have the Defects headline this mini-fest as on their home turf no-one can touch this band. I've said it numerous times before and I'll say it again - The Defects are the best punk band around, bar none! Why they are still playing these wee Belfast bars and not strutting their stuff in front of thousands across America, Japan, etc is fucking beyond me! Their loss, our gain! The Defects crap all over those MTV friendly 'punk' bands. Due to time restrictions the band were forced to play a shortened set, highlights for me being that old chestnut Brutality, the new(ish) Hill Street (the Defects ode to the Harp Bar, which should be on the new album), the recent single Revelator, and the band's cover of Bob Marley's Get Up Stand Up which is brilliant and I guarantee you've never heard it done like this before! As usual, the Defects gave 110%, there's no short changing with this band. You just have to watch Glenn, Roy and Aidy on stage to see the mix of determination and exhilaration on their faces - these boys mean business! And Buck always looks so cool and in control and has a great rapport with the audience, many of whom bounced around stagefront throughout the set. Another sterling performance by the Fex! Roll on the next one.
Stevie Smyth deserves a big round of applause for putting on a top notch event. Hopefully next time more punkers will turn out in support.
Dee Fective 24/04/12