Thu 6th April 2006
Please note (disclaimer time again, people) that I have no real interest in crust punk (or whatever you want to term this stuff as), so henceforth this may not be fair to all parties involved.
So Black Eye Riot get on stage whilst the club is still reasonably empty and (whether as a result of the whole Swansea/Cardiff thing or not) most people aren't paying a lot of attention until they open with 'Bitch Slap' from their recent split 7" with Charger and, despite Lee's absence on second guitar, get on with what they do best... putting the fear of God up unsuspecting casual observers. Me, my mate and some random young lass are immediately fists in the air, screaming along, despite the fact that clearly none of us know many of the words and the shambolic Oi-Sludge-Doomcore proceeds to tear Cardiff the proverbial 'new one'. Now I rant furiously about how much more 'Hardcore' these boyos are than most other bands saddled with that label these days, but something i haven't mentioned is how much heavier they keep getting as well. Even without Lee they've still damn near pummelled the audience into submission within the first few songs and the rest of the audience is forced to start paying attention. Add to this the great comedy that is The Willis and Dor Show, (W: "This is a song called 'First Blood'. It's about my favourite film 'First Blood' " D: "It's fucking 'Saturday Night Fever', Willis, you're not fooling anyone..." ), plus the band's unenviable ability to be doing everything right and it to still go wrong (most notable example being Stu hitting the Wah for his feedback solo only for it to suddenly all go a bit weird and proggy, leading Dor and Willis to do a true comedy genius synchronised double take mid fist-in-the-air-comedy-punk-pose and Stu's resultant look of first abject confusion leading to mild embarrasment. Priceless!). Still, as the (fortunately quite lengthy for a support slot) set belts past them at full tilt, including all the other tracks recorded for the split and a few from album 'No Hope, No Future, No Worries' (highlights 'Bite The Snake' and the utterly monstrous 'Instinct' amongst them) before closing with their all-time (for want of a better word) anthem 'The Cunt', the crowd are now paying a lot more attention. All in all, heavier, nastier, faster and above all else, more fun than most other stuff out there at the moment. Fantastic.
Disorder... hmmmmm... how best to describe them... imagine you're in a East London squat somewhere in the region of twenty, twenty five odd years ago, there's a party and some lads have begged, borrowed and stolen equipment to play a few agit-prop-UK-hardcore-punk songs for the evenings entertainment. Now keep the band exactly the same, give them a record contract and dump them in the here and now. Doesn't sound like too good an idea, does it? It wasn't. The main problem i have with bands like this is they do exactly what i've just described... ignore the last twenty years coz if they don't it means they never achieved anything from all they've tried to do. The fact that they clearly used to jam on Discharge songs doesn't help highlight their shortcomings. they're not bad per se... just... oh, you get the idea. They have a few cider lovers dancing throughout but it's far from the beginnings of The Revolution they seem to be after. The fact that we missed their first few songs because we didn't notice any difference between the CDs being played in between bands and them is about the most level criticism i can manage.
Discharge step up next, confident that this is their crowd, and they're right. From the off everyone is smiling, shouting along and dancing that little bouncy shimmy dance that old school punks are so fond of as they blast through what (I assume, I have no prior knowledge of either them or Disorder) is a much loved back catalogue of crust punk classics with all the appropriate sneers and sloganeering and it's all more interesting than Disorder... er... just. Basically, as i said at the start, this really isn't gonna be a fair review as i have no real appreciation of this style of punk rock, or indeed, any old school UK punk rock for that matter. 'Never Mind The Bollocks... Here's The Sex Pistols' never changed my life, my dad wasn't a Clash or a Jam fan, basically... punk was, is and always will be a rather staid and uninteresting second cousin to Metal for me and frankly if i keep going i'm just gonna end up punkbashing for the sheer sake of it against two bands that have earned their stars the hard way, and had a genuine effect on (at least certain) parts of the UK musical landscape. I guess I really should remember that BER were all dancing to Discharge and Charger's logo is just Discharge's with the 'Dis' taken off and and extra 'r' stuck on the end. As a result i shall end by saying that Disorder were OK and Discharge were good but to remind you all, fair readers, that i own pretty much everything BER have released and nothing that Discharge have...