Anti-Nowhere League/The Defects/Borrowed Time – London, The 100 Club – 5 January 2018 Print E-mail
Written by Jim Rowland   
Saturday, 13 January 2018 04:00

Back in the early ‘80s, a label called WXYZ Records released two cracking albums – Anti-Nowhere League’s ‘We Are …The League’ in 1982, and The Defects’ ‘Defective Breakdown’ the following year. I loved them both then, and still do today. Tonight sees both bands back together on the same stage on the second night of this year’s Resolution Festival at Oxford Street’s legendary 100 Club venue, and I’m there like a rat up a drainpipe.


The standard of bands is always good at the Resolution Festival, as is the case with the opening band charged with the task warming up the crowd tonight – Gloucester’s Borrowed Time. They pull a healthy crowd considering their early stage time, and catchy-as-hell tracks like ‘Minute to Midnight’, ‘Trapped In A Cult’ and ‘Living On Borrowed Time’ prove these guys can pen a very decent punk rock tune indeed. A strong set, and a fitting farewell for bass player Baz playing his last gig with the band.




Tonight is actually the first time I’ve got to see Belfast punks The Defects since they reformed back in 2010, and given my love of that original album way back then, I’m really looking forward to finally seeing them in action. They do not disappoint: in fact, they exceed all expectations for me.


Vocalist Ian Murdock is slightly under the weather with that annoying flu everyone’s had recently, and they have one or two minor sound issues (part of the 100 Club’s charm!), but if they thought this was them on an off night, I can’t wait to see them on an ‘on’ night, because they blew me away from start to finish. It’s difficult to go wrong with first album classics like ‘Head On Collision’, ‘Metal Walls’, ‘Dance’ and ‘Survival’, all punk rock peaches, but it’s the newer stuff that I’m not familiar with that show me this band still has it in spades. The likes of ’45 Minutes’, ‘Traffic Island Castaway’, ‘Rock’n’Roll Is Dead Tonight’ and ‘Hunter Versus Hunter’ are hugely impressive and full of the angst and fire of old. The set finishes on a high with politically charged bruiser ‘Brutality’ and an SLF-styled punky reggae party with the Marley/Tosh classic ‘Get Up, Stand Up’. Quality stuff.




Much like The Defects, the Anti-Nowhere League don’t just rely on the quality of the old classics, although there’s plenty of them to behold tonight. Their last album, 2016’s ‘The Cage’, showed that this band are still knocking out great albums, as ‘Punk Rock Girl’, the excellent ‘The Last Cowboys’ and the ode-to-Harper ‘Uncle Charlie’ all prove. ‘Let Your Country Feed You’, ‘Pig Iron’ and ‘For You’ also show it’s not just about the material from that infamous first album either. But let’s face it, it wouldn’t be an ANWL gig without all that filthy fun from that classic debut, and all the classics are wheeled out for everyone to sing along to – ‘I Hate People’, ‘Can’t Stand Rock’n’Roll’, ‘We Will Not Remember You’, ‘Snowman’, ‘Woman’, ‘Streets Of London, the list goes on, and of course there’s ‘So What?’ too. A cover of Del Shannon’s ‘Runaway’ is a bit of a surprise for me, and the set is wrapped up in fine style with ‘Fucked Up and Wasted’, ‘Wreck-a-Nowhere’ and, still my favourite, the immortal ‘We Are The League’.


ANWL is still a formidable live act, and Animal is still a formidable front man who clearly still cares passionately about live music and the people, like all of us here tonight, that continue to support it, something that is covered in the aforementioned ‘The Last Cowboys’.


All three bands on the bill tonight, and all the bands on the bill for this entire festival, show that punk rock is alive, kicking and in a good place right now. Long live the League and long live punk rock!


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