I’ve been in hibernation, I haven’t published an article since my Jackal Trades review in November. I mean, not complete hibernation, I did do a music video with Mark McG and Foxoza Media for the Jackal Trades’ song ‘I Am The Fear’ which you can check out here;
I’ve still been going to gigs (of course!), and I have been writing, just not articles. I have to break my four month silence however to say a big well done to Raze The Roof Unsigned Music for successfully putting on a great gig at Audio, but not just for that - I’ve been to hundreds and hundreds of punk gigs in my time, from oi to skinhead, from skater to hardcore, from old skool to nu school, even ended up in a nazi punk circle pit in a Bob Marley tshirt completely by accident once! And Raze The Stakes on Saturday 11th March was probably the punkest gig I have ever been to in my life!
Punk gigs are so…well, not very punk these days, tame, polished, and strictly governed by fascist security, they’ve even outlawed crowd surfing in some places! So-called punk bands these days don’t appreciate people coming on their stage, or touching them, or getting too out of control. Raze The Stakes however had all the ingredients of a proper old school punk gig whisked into its audio soup, a ladleful of dingy, cavernous venue, copious alcohol, a cupful of stage invasions, a pinch of full frontal male nudity, a sprinkling of ejections by security, season well with moshing, pogo-ing, and general anarchy, but most importantly it had three-chord raw punk rock and roll emanating from the stage and providing the all-important stock. DIY at its most base, the dodgy shelf on the wall that won’t stay up, the audio tan across yer’ face with a riff that is The Chibmarks.
The Chibmarks are a band I manifested into physical form during a particularly strong overdose and subsequent bad trip on an unidentified drug from a rare plant in the Amazonian rainforest, (to hear that story go here http://www.newhellfireclub.co.uk/news/2016/9/18/the-chibmarks-review-ct-herron ) and they are now spreading their filth and disgusture across dives all over Scotland, evidence of their trail of destruction can be seen under the shine of a special UV light in the suspicious stains on the walls and sticky floors of venues all over Glasgow. And with such hits as ‘My Dugz Gay Get Fuckin’ Over It’ how could you not be captured by the band’s undeniable gobbing, swearing, sneering charm!?
Earlier in the night I entered the venue just as the Division’s own Will Johnstone (Corvus Experiment/Semper Spero) was playing his gonzo song ‘Five Pounds A Week’, he stopped playing it to say hi, but when he restarted I immediately jumped into the incredibly hooky chorus, Will J wrote a hit song with that one, it’s just nobody has noticed yet. More and more people are starting to realise what a lot of us have known for years, and that is that Will J is one of the most talented musicians on the circuit. A master of any instrument, but his main weapon is the guitar, and he wields it impressively. He once played ‘Five Pounds A Week’ on a broken guitar and you couldn’t even tell it was broken, he’s that good. He is bound by only six strings to this world…and five pounds a week of course*
*the song is about the job centre, not about dealing weed as many, many people have mistaken it for.
As I stood annihilating pint after pint of cider at the bar, between Dijancer and KC (who was literally sucking Nbombs out of his teeth) and Jason, an old school 1st generation punk approached me and said ‘You’re that guy that interviewed Lars Frederiksen’ and shook my hand and hugged me for it, he then knighted me by removing his homemade original old skool Exploited tye dye and putting it on me. Respect from a first generation to a second generation punk is a rare thing so I felt honoured. Thanks Old School Punk Guy!
There were more great bands and more sterling performances to review, including Semper Spero, Hammerin’ Tongs, and The Barking Spiders and to read a more detailed review of them check out Jason Smalls’ one here https://smallmusicreviews.com/2017/03/13/review-raze-the-roof-presents-raze-the-stakes/ but me, I had dropped an acid on my way in and it was coming on too strong, I had grown astigmatic, so I had to take myself to a quiet corner to talk myself down a bit…
In the corner I met an ancient Red Indian, hunched down as if waiting for wildebeest by a watering hole, his eyes, two Azure Halos had the patience of wisdom radiating from their pinprick pupils, irises aswirl like nebulas and his body was surrounded by a fine green nimbus that glowed. He was painted head to toe in a fine clay, half ghost white, the other half bible black, his deep wrinkles and numerous scars etched canyons and valleys into his flesh. He was bare chested apart from the paint, and his bottom half was garbed in breechclothes and boiled-leather leggings ending in weatherworn moccasins, he peered at me through his long, dark unruly hair, decorated as it was with feathers and bones and trinkets and he said;
‘That acid really got on top of you Kemosabe’ I nodded dumbly and thrust my notepad at him.
‘You’re right,’ I said in a shaky voice, ‘you’ll need to finish off the review for me’. He took the proffered notepad, removed a feather from his hair and using it as a quill he dipped it in a pouch of pokeweed ink and wrote this in my notepad;
“And so it begins... In the words of a man who I've watched epitomizing gonzo... “That's the punkest gig I've seen!” It ends up [after the gig] in an ex porno theatre watching middle of the road stereotypical button-pushing bullshit. She gets away with it in front of the mindless masses because she has a reasonably compelling bosom. In the real world I'd rather have ugly hairy men shouting obscenities… Anyways, and back to the real reason that I was compelled to make words happen... Will Johnstone is quite probably one of the most talented and inspired bass players I've ever met (up there with godlike genius Rob Porter [Dohnut] ), but regardless of his musical powers he was upstaged by a bunch of foul mouthed punks. Don't get me wrong it's not as if they're a bunch of nobodies [boasting members of Colonel Mustard]...... And it drags on, chasing that hit of punk genius, and you know you're not going to recreate it. Eventually we find some cultured electronica but regardless of how good it feels you know it's a pale insignificance... It was however the punkest gig... It had it all, projectile pints, old school punk stage invasion (several times), old school punk ejection. The Chibmarks shouldn't be a thing let alone something you'd plan your weekend around but that's how it worked out.”
The Indian, was of course a fiction of my imagination, but the above statement was genuinely written in my notepad, by an anonymous author, with almost indiscernible handwriting that it took me and a team of two graphologists and a lexicographer to untangle…
Anyway, once again this has been less of a music review and more like the bathroom-stall-scrawled ravings of some half-baked acid casualty with a headful of Platinum Girl Scout Cookies… So I’ll close by saying hats off to Raze The Roof, not just for putting on a great show in their sister city (being based in Edinburgh) but for the tireless support of unsigned music they provide, they are the NHC of Edinburgh, and the Chicken Movement to your Yellow Movement. I caught up with organizer Antitax Pedro Juans outside and asked her the most basic journalistic question I could muster in my mangled state, how she felt the night went, she replied thusly;
And indeed thank you for “getting off your arse” because as I’ve said a hundred times before, all your favourite bands were once unsigned and playing at local pubs, the unsigned music scene is where the steel of legends is forged, “…where thieves and pimps run free, and good men die like gay dugz for no good reason… But there is also a negative side…”
Seeya’ next winter