Hardcore, you know the score. The old 1, 2, 3, 4, delivered in the form of bar chords at breakneck speed here tricked out in studied Kreuzberg chic. The timeless charm of tattoos and piercings a shop bought (and shop warn) look and sound, betrayed by a fancy and expensive, transparent valve amp head. Welcome to the U.K Punk Rock Invasion, there will be no smoking in the auditorium.
The Razorquillz, local support drafted in courtesy of Wild at Heart, are a trio comprising Alia (vocals and guitar), a substitute bassist and Brumm, on drums. Alia’s guitar bore the acronym L.A.M.F and, like the motherfucker I am, I found little to adore other than a de-evolution back to a three chord fundamentalism which made up urgency what it lacked in almost every other respect.
Two weeks into a German tour, featuring a slightly iffy Union Jack theme, the evening should perhaps of belonged to headliners The Lurkers ( the English Ramones, the bubblegum Motorhead) but due to problems with Arturo Bassick’s inner ear they cancelled – reasonably enough as the ability to stand upright is kind of a minimum requirement.
The audience were happily oblivious as T.V Smith explained that he, tonight, was a one man, U.K Punk Rock Invasion and proved it with a set that included “No time to be 21”, “Bored Teenagers”, “Gary Gilmore’s Eyes” and culminated with a blistering “One Chord Wonders”. Between, recent material found him impassioned on “Bring the Bull down” and “Only One Flavour” and accompanied elsewhere by an eerie Tiger-Lillyish accordian.
It may have seemed momentarily strange to find a crowd dancing with reckless abandon to a 52 year old playing an acoustic guitar but those that weren’t were hanging rapt on every word.
It turns out that the echt punk wasn’t the hot screech of electrification after all but rather resided in the words. This was emotionally rich song writing, angry anthems to non-conformity delivered with a humble ferocity and the crowd were appropriately moved.
The Guitar Gangsters provided the evening’s ultimate set but despite their shirts, matchingly stencilled with “Real Deal”, they were strictly meat and potatoes to my ears. The also-ran’s also-rans, a bunch of musclehead punkers hastily reassembled from the remains of The Untouchables whose American moves were clearly much beloved by the local Mohawks. As honest a job as they did, their claims to melody seemed greatly exaggerated.
I was leaving but caught T.V by the door and he told me he was going to play The Ruts’ “Babylon is Burning” as an encore. I stuck around and not only was he as good as his word I do believe Babylon was left a little singed as he whipped the Gangsters and the audience into shape – “with anxiety!” indeed.