This was one of the regular Punk 4 Mental Health fundraising gigs, this time helping out Mind Camden and for anyone who still wants to donate to this very worthwhile cause you can do so by clicking the donate button on there website here http://www.mindincamden.org.uk/ .
A very busy evenings entertainment was already under way by the time I arrived and Andi the Punk poet was performing in front of the sound desk, she sounded like a lightweight version of Lydia Lunch, the poems were okay but didn't have a great impact on me.
Then our compere for the evening Joel Vos made sure we all knew to give generously to Mind Camden for all the good work they did as he introduced the next act Jon Crabb who was a young rockabilly Mark Lamarr lookalike who opened his set with Rockabilly Queen and as a late addition to the bill as both Das Fluff and Damidge had dropped out he was doing his best to get us singing along on Clash City Rocker that still worked pretty well played solo like this.
He then went rather topical with a cover of The Oppressed classic Same Old Story about how much we should all hate the Tories, some things never change sadly. He then went classic rock on a cool sing along to Bob Seeger's Rosalie. He was by this point getting a bit swamped by people taking over the music and needed to deploy a vampire to deal with them.
Still he closed with a cool version of C'mon Everybody that got those of us listening signing and smiling along at a good fun set.
Our compere Joel Vos then introduced some of the people from mind Camden to talk about the good work they are doing and to make sure we all knew that everyone is welcome if they feel they need some help.
Then it was time for my annual show by The Phobics and for once it doesn't take place in May like almost all the other ones have. They are currently touring the bands latest album Burnt Rubber and were opening for The UK Subs in Southend the day after this gig.
They were as loud brash and speedy as you'd expect from the off with Tom Crossley fairly spitting the words at us from the off. Every time I hear them play Gentrification it seems more relevant than the last time maybe it's just the times we are in but we all really do need affordable housing.
Split Personality sounded at times like the two guitarists were trying to split the sound as well as the lyrics as Paul and Jeff really got things going and Moyni did everything he could to keep it together on the bass.
Love is something we all need and The Phobics encourage us to love with a great super speedy tune. Then they are wishing they were in a Boy Band rather than an old geezer's band, although I'd rather see them than a by band all day long.
They are just as angry as you need to be on politics with Tom spitting out the bile on our vile politicians. Die slowly is always a preferable message to the live fast die young one and this tune just encourages us all to grow old disgracefully as this lot certainly are.
They then had a good message song as they insist correctly that you Can't Make It If you Don't Try and the obvious song to follow it with was of course Get your Act Together which they certainly have as they were good and tight and sounding great throughout.
The Nearly Man had plenty of edge and it felt like it wanted to have a good rumble too. Flowers was as usual dedicated to Johnny Thunders and others that have fallen too soon and asks that we don't put flowers on their graves. They then revved up the bands motor bikes for a great wheel spin rush through Burnt Rubber like they wanted to fishtail down Parkway.
They then closed with Lipstick that had a cool killer edge to it and left us wanting more, but on a packed bill like this it was unlikely.
Joel Vos then introduced the next act the legendary Steve Mick who was reading poetry in front of the sound desk while Joel held a Christmas tree beside him as a prop. If you don't know who Steve Mick was I'd recommend the song he's mentioned in on the new Robb Johnson album but that's not out till next January, but it mentions he was a writer for Sniffin Glue and his poems are all loosely or directly about that time as he tells us about 12 days of Crisis while mentioning his favorite Punk Anniversary and then telling the very cool tale of When The Damned Came Round For Tea! That and a good tale of seeing the Sex Pistols a cool set.
Then it was time for the Tara Rez band who I haven't seen for a couple of years and it's good to see one of my favorite Myspace discovered acts still going strong as the Duel maybe no more but Tara's current band are just as much fun and opened with a good and spiky Future Generation with Tara bouncing around and getting us all going.
She then asked a question most of us have dealt with at some point What Do you Do When the Money Runs Out it was fast and frantic and full of angst. Haunted House was nice a nice ghostly presence with some good howled lyrics.
Not sure what the next song that flew by but it was followed with a great version of Right To Exist that seems rather timely with some of the stuff going on in the current election campaign. I guess the next song was Shadow Of Dreams either way they had us all with them and it sounded very cool.
Urgency picked up the pace even more before they closed with a touch of Whamageddon and a raucous and all over the place cover of Last Christmas that nearly had me rushing for the exit I hate the song so much, but this was done with enough cheek to make it listenable.
Then it was time for Anarcho punk legends and Guildford's angriest sons Crisis to finish the evening off. Now I am no Crisis expert but this was the same line-up I saw play at Rebellion and it features two original members Tony Wakeford on a very ugly looking bass and Clive Giblin on an equally ugly looking guitar with new members Aurora Lee on Drums and Lloyd James on the vocals.
They were taut and tense sounding from the off not sure what the opening song was but it had some good angry lyrics and then they were singing about what they wanted for us all but I can't read my notes and am sure the song its called something else sorry.
I think they then did PC 1984 either way it was bitter and angry and the music summoned up the worst of the Thatcherite times perfectly. White Youth kept things bitter and pumping along like there was a ruck coming.
Escalator seems as relevant as it's always been in these times and as another election approaches it seemed totally right to be seeing a band like Crisis playing.
The Hammer And The Anvil is the song of there's that I know the best for certain and it was good to hear a good punchy version like this. They had the atmosphere of our current times down perfectly and the song about what the Youth Say was on point as the youth may well make all the difference this week.
They then played the stark and troubling Concentration Camp with it's list of the sites of all that Nazi horror that we must all strive to never repeat it is a real burning statement of power and hearing the list of camps being almost chanted out is rather chilling, almost making me feel like I have at the various camps I've visited to remember the horrors of what man has done.
Not sure what song they closed with but they more than deserved the encore they got and they came back to play a great raw take on Laughing and just hearing them singing that we should Carry On Laughing despite everything that may be going on was a great and unexpectedly upbeat way to close a very good nights music for a very good cause.
If anyone needs any help or advice with mental health issues please get in touch with http://www.mindincamden.org.uk/ or just go and donate to them as sadly our government doesn't care enough to properly fund the level of care that's needed.