Cock Sparrer – London, Kentish Town, HMV Forum - 27th March 2010 Print E-mail
Written by Johnny H   
Tuesday, 06 April 2010 06:00

Sparrer_LondonWaking up in a strange room with a bit of a head from the night before is nothing new to this Über Röcker, but when your alarm call is the 'loud as fuck' rattle of a pneumatic drill it makes things just that little bit 'real' you know. The trouble was I couldn't actually work out if this drilling sound was in fact the jackhammer right outside my room or Ian B's thunderous snoring brought on from our previous night of alcoholic excess. But two things immediately crossed my mind at that ungodly hour of waking, and that was that I could never witness a better gig than last night again, and my head could never feel as fucking throbbing as it did at that very moment in time.

 

After the usual ceremonial three S's, we were both off for the compulsory trip into central London to watch our beloved Cardiff City on the box (can anyone tell me why is it that pubs in London don't want to show football all of a sudden?) and partake in some manic CD browsing. And before we knew it, we were once again on the Northern Line to Kentish Town for a second night of punk rock and some pre-gig ales in the nearby boozers. 

 

ASubs_1Now this is where Rebellion promoted shows really come into their own for me, as the spirit and camaraderie that gets rolled up within the gangs of people you meet before, during and after their shows really adds to the overall gig experience (all sort of like Hard Rock Hell but with mohawks instead of mullets). Getting caught up in these conversations pre-gig meant we once again got stuck in the armband queue outside the Forum and as a result missed the first band of the night, the usually excellent The Exposed.... sorry guys.

 

So it was Charlie Harper ambling onstage with a crooked neck and introducing himself as Ozzy Osbourne and his band that was the first live music we got to see, and what a great starter for ten the UK Subs were. Cramming in a fifty-minute greatest hits set, the forty somethings in the pit were soon slipping around like young Bambis on ice to classics like 'Emotional Blackmail' and 'Stranglehold' whilst 'Warhead' and encore 'C.I.D' turned proceedings into something resembling carnage and it wasn't even 7:30 yet.

 

Thankfully for my liver Penetration came along next, as the drinking pace set by Harper's mob would have seen me totally pissed (and proud) within the hour. So it was with some welcome relief that Pauline Murray's new wave sounds started to fill the by now packed auditorium. Initial sound problems immediately dented the band's impact and they appeared almost 'humble' in their stage presence, which didn't exactly engender them to the growing numbers of hardcore Sparrer fans around us. Still 'Don't Dictate' got the heads bobbing and overall it was a moral victory for the band if nothing else.

 

Boys_1As 'Sonic Reducer' was cranking its charms out of the PA between bands, all around me people were throwing shapes like post modernistic air guitarists, and I suddenly realised that up next, was a band I'd been looking forward to seeing live for what seemed like eons, namely The Boys. So, whether it was the lousy mix (Matt's vocals going completely AWOL early on) or the fact I'd looked forward to seeing them too bloody much I'm not entirely sure. But what I will just say is that for the hour or so The Boys were on stage they just didn't do it for me. They certainly rolled out all the classics 'T.C.P', 'Terminal Love' and 'Brickfield Nights' note perfectly and Duncan Reid took the sweet cider showers that rained down on him like a real trooper, but it wasn't until 'First Time' and the encore of 'Sick On You' where I felt that the band really clicked. Oh well, there's always another night...hopefully.

 

Cometh the hour, cometh the band, and Cock Sparrer were never going to disappoint this crowd of diehards who as Ian pointed out previously had travelled far and wide for this the band's first show in London for one night (sorry lads I couldn't resist that). As the intro tape went up the whole place seemed to erupt as one and we were into 'Riot Squad' with the frantic feeling of something might just kick off here that was oddly missing from the previous night.  This edge only seemed to add to the proceedings as frontman extraordinaire (with approaching 35 years experience in this particular field) Colin McFaull commented, "Last night was great, tonight's going to be a party" as the band laid into classic after classic.

 

CS_2_Sat

 

Thankfully the set list did differ from the previous night, (I did fear a bit of a punk rock Groundhog Day might occur), with tracks from the band's last album 'Here We Stand' like 'Too Late' and 'Sussed' alternating between the must-have set stalwarts such as 'Argy Bargy', 'Running Riot' and 'Take Em All' (that guitar intro by Mickey still sounds exactly like Wrathchild's 'Shokker').

 

We were soon into the encores with the walls of the rather nice Forum sweating as much as the rest of us, and just like the previous night it was 'Sunday Stripper', 'Secret Army', 'England Belongs To Me' (Where I carefully sing the Roger Miret And The Disasters version, not too lCS_1_Satoudly of course) before 'We're Coming Back' sends everyone home beaming like Cheshire cats. I really never thought that the previous night's show or in fact that immortal 'Here We Stand' album launch in Wolverhampton would ever be surpassed, but tonight Cock Sparrer were simply unstoppable. At least that was the first thought of the day put to bed.

 

As we were making our way back South on the tube I suddenly remembered the morning's second thought, about my banging head. This was just as the usual Saturday night alcopop kids' riots were starting to kick off around us, and just as the tube doors decided to close on me unannounced, catching me mid temples and knocking seven shades of shit out of my old horse bonce. Oh well, it could only happen to this Über Röcker, and as I emerged from the carriage, head scarred by a huge rubber burn I quickly thought to myself it could be worse, I could be spending the night sleeping in the same room as a pneumatic drill snorer... oh fuck I was.

 

See you all in Blackpool; I've got the bug for these Rebellion shows now, they are something very special indeed.

 

Oi Oi Oi !