|Exit_International/The Guns/Solutions/Beasts - Cardiff, Bogiez - 18th May 2012|
|Written by Johnny H|
|Saturday, 26 May 2012 04:30|
Camp Uber Rock is effectively split in two across the city of Cardiff tonight, with most of the clan opting to go watch The Damned playing The Coal Exchange instead of sweating it out in nightclub with yours truly. But I don't suppose you would ever have found me anywhere else other in the company of both Exit_International and The Guns tonight though especially when both of their most recent albums made it into my 2011 Albums Of The Year list. So for once I'm passing on some old school punk rock and digging the new breed instead.
With four bands on tonight's bill I made sure I was in place good and early, and it was something of an emotional moment to once again hear the immortal line "Good Evening Bogiez" uttered by a band...as it had been a staggering twenty plus years since I last heard those words spoken. Tonight that honour fell to Beecham, lead singer/guitarist with Beasts, describing themselves as a veritable noise riot, the three piece boasts within their ranks ex members of Hey!Tonight and Midasuno/All The Damn Vampires, and that pedigree clearly shows within the band's more technically minded grasp of the punk rock genre. Songs such as 'Megababy' spit in the faces of the hard rock giants that now adorn the walls of the Halloween'ed up Barfly, and you can almost see the 'Love Gun' era Gene Simmons on a poster near the stage wincing in horror as Beasts proceeded to deliver a set of gnarly post hardcore tunes from an as yet unrecorded EP. The band promises to be "a bit big".
Next up, Cardiff's Solutions, and time for yours truly to finally admit defeat and fight my way to the bar for a pint. This actually comes as a welcome distraction as having seen Solutions previously I can't say I'm a huge fan of the four piece's more (what they term) melodic progressive punk. But the punters now cramming themselves in stage front certainly don't appear to have any problem with the Hot Water Music meets Hot Snakes type of tunes they peddle, and amongst them is No Choice frontman Gagz, down the front supporting his lad's band. With new bass player Chris Morgan added to the fray for tonight, the verbal reminders from both his band mates and audience members to "not fuck it up Chris" certainly make for entertaining viewing, but I'm still not feeling Solutions' music. So much so that I can't help but wish Solutions frontman Nicky would just get his old man up for a quick run through 'Take That Up The Arse.... And Party'. That at least this old fucker would be happy.
It's eight very short months since The Guns and Exit_International last played a local show together. That night back in October The Guns were headlining and promoting their just released 'Missing Girls' single, whilst Exit_International were promoting their excellent 'Black Junk' album and looking forward to playing a series of UK shows with our old mate Ginger and a few of his friends. So tonight as the rather ironic slabbage of 'Feel Good Hit Of The Summer' heralds the arrival of the first of these two bands to Bogiez makeshift stage I'm actually wondering just what the fuck I can write that we haven't already written about these two bands.
Then almost as if he's reading my mind The Guns frontman Alex Wiltshire offers up his first pearl of wisdom of the night promising his band are going to "run up your chest and kick you in the face with their music" and suddenly I've got a fresh angle as eight months on, and now promoting the band's awesome 'Fuck The Demon Outta Me' album - the best the UK has to offer have officially just got better.
I know it may sound impossible but however many times I hear the first few bars of 'It's On Like Donkey Kong' the explosion of energy that follows never fails to have me punching the air like a teenager, pretty much like the...umm... teenagers all around me going totally fucking mental. There is something primal about The Guns live, something that you can't quite put your finger on, but as Alex tells everyone to once again "Step the fuck up or fuck off out of the venue" you just sense he means it with every fibre of his being.
The set list tonight is pretty much as it has been every time I've witnessed The Guns live, but as I've already said right now there is a more savage undertone to the likes of 'You Can Eff Right Off', 'Treacle & Pie' and ever present set closer 'Gordons And Lemonade' that makes you wonder just how much longer a band can function at this level of intensity. Of course today is not totally unrelenting and Uber Rock gets its customary middle finger salute from the ever-charming Mr Wiltshire as the mood is lightened for an extended disco remix of 'Missing Girls' before a menacing version of 'Nighty Night Creeping' has a young lady stood in front of me shaking her hips so fast I can only marvel at how she can do so without some sort of mechanical assistance, but that's just what this band does to you - The Guns celebrate the positive and make you want to fucking dance, and dance and dance and......
The Guns are not punk, they are not metal, they just write great songs, they certainly don't follow fashion (as one look at Alex's pre gig wardrobe will tell you) and most importantly they don't belong to any scene. Alex, Adam, Tom and Stixx are just The muthafuckin' Guns and when they hit the road in June with Ginger on his Pledge tour you better make sure you get in good and early to witness something very special indeed.
With the collateral damage following The Guns set (people are walking around seemingly in a state of aftershock) I was actually wondering how Exit_International could possibly follow such a brutal lesson in rock n roll excess, but it only takes the first few bars of opening bass racket 'Sex W/Strangers' to have me hooked back into the vibe and once again packed in down the front with the loyal all wearing their E_I shirts.
And this is possibly the single most noticeable difference in the eight months since I last saw Exit_International, because right now through all their hard work gigging like maniacs throughout the UK they have developed a very active fanbase. One that is hooked on every sarcastic word uttered by frontman Scott Lee Andrews as in-between the sonic blasts of 'Glory Horn' and 'Body Joyrider', Scott has also turned into something of a raconteur, even if he might want to tone down some of the more (shall we say) 'Mind Your Language' type humour for some of the less clued in audiences he is set to play to in Japan very soon.
Dropping some new tunes into the set, which sadly I couldn't make out any of the titles of, Exit_International's sound, is simply getting bigger by the gig. However let's not forget what great pop tunes 'Bowie's Ghost' and 'Chainsaw Song' are, and with both of these aired tonight alongside the newer cuts I was frantically scribbling down influences more attuned to say Peter Hook than Geddy Lee in the songwriting department (a comparison I'm sure Scott, Fudge and Adam will love). In fact talking of bass goons you know that 'Love Gun' era Kiss poster I was mentioning earlier, well I'm sure by the time Exit_International plough headlong into self destruction via 'Hey Disciple' said poster is now missing the Gene Simmons caricature as he's obviously fucked off to sign another Silent Rage to his label instead of watching the quality on offer here tonight. But then again that is something I feel is at the very core of why major labels are in such a mess right now, they've forgotten the real music fans, focussing for far too long on signing identikit shite whilst unique bands like Exit International, The Guns etc have been left largely unheard.
Trust me brothers and sisters the revolution is coming and it is bands like those mentioned above that will make the difference. We just gotta keep on believing!
To pick up your copy of 'Black Junk' - CLICK HERE