On Friday 9th March 2018 I found myself in The 100 Club, London to watch Human Punk’s gig for the evening. Featuring electro-acoustic The Crows, emerging band The Weird Things and punk veterans Johnny Moped, was I going to be taken to punk hell or heaven?
A four-piece band comprising of Jennie Russell-Smith (guitar & vocals), Mandy Warwick (formerly MDM -Mere Dead Men; vocals), Dominic Warwick (bass) and Edu Baro (lead guitarist) opened Johnny Moped play Cycledelic gig at The 100 Club, London. The Crows played a blinder of a set with old favourites ‘Fakers & Fools’ and ‘Monday Morning Friends.’ during their forty-five-minute appearance. I am purposely not going to comment on whether The Crows are good or not simply because in this case Jennie Russell-Smith is my co-founder and no one would believe my opinion was not biased, but what I will say is The Crows are not a gentle acoustic band who lightly lead you into your evening, instead they come at you with songs full of strong points of view, including lyrics about topical issues such as groupies and wannabe hanger-on’s. They are a band born out of decades of musical participation and are truly adept at sharing the true punk spirit by interweaving their rhythmic maturity into every chord reaching deep into the ears of every being in the room. If what you are after is some acoustic gusto, The Crows are the band.
The Weird Things
It was The Weird Things I was most eager to see after The Punk Lounge had done an album review a few weeks ago. The album hit the spot but so often it is the case that a produced record can promise lots but fail to deliver due to an inadequate live performance. In theory this could have happened to ‘The Weird Things’ because what you have is a Mary Poppins carpet bag mix of experience and expertise in the large seven-piece band meaning anything could have happened. What ‘The Weird Things’ offer is very different from the usual punk ensemble in that I cannot categorise them for you into even a sub-genre. Describing them as a melting pot of sound does not do them justice but it’s true. There are three vocalists with a robust lead vocalist, Charlie. Charlie is a charismatic young woman who can only be described as an energetic ball of sound, even in her youth she was able to command and captivate the audience and bring them in. The two backing vocalists, Leila Parrot and Sam Beven, gave their all and provided a layer of depth which enhanced Charlie’s overall performance. There was a prodigious, palpable chemistry between Charlie, Leila and Sam feeding off each other until they reached a climatic fever pitch with their song ‘Tick Tock.’ However, what I found most endearing was the silent support from the four seasoned musical veterans in the background who renounced their egos to provide a safe expressive space for the vocalists to sing their hearts out. I hear you cry, ‘silent support’ you are at a punk gig, where is the fucking noise? There was lots of noise, copious amounts of sound came from Mr Jan – Bass Guitar, Simon Peet – Guitar, Martin Parrott – Drums, Dick Crippen –Guitar, but it was like some sweet surrender. The back four effortlessly slammed out the tunes without seeking any of the limelight for themselves, they forged a bridge of steel under the vocalists and stood back to let them conquer. Conquer they did and eternally arrested to the sound of The Weird Things I now am. Not often do we hear fusion music that hits the spot, let alone being able to perform at that intensity level – it would appear The Weird Things have found that spot! Go see them, be engulfed by them that’s what The Punk Lounge recommends!
When you have a job like I do you get to do some pretty amazing shit as well as meeting some just truly fantastic people – The Johnny Moped guys are all that and more. Gentlemen and squires, as my father would say, full of calm composure proving that they had done this gig thing many times before. The dressing room full of a million signatures provided the space needed for stories to be shared of the journey from 1970 punk emergence to the most recent past. I sat there attentively listening thinking to myself I was in for a special treat. The time came for Johnny Moped to revisit and play Cycledelic and after The Weird Things the crowd were baying for more. The place was packed, the beer was flowing, and everyone wanted to carry on the party. The music started, and the crowd rocked to the tunes of old and new, each musician playing their part with every piece of their soul. This is why I pondered for some time before I decided to write as honestly as this. The show was epic it honestly was, but there was just something missing, the final push over the cliff to take me there never really came and believe me I wanted to feel it so badly if not for myself but for every bead of sweat those guys gave me. Still no matter where I stood and listened I was left waiting for the ‘more,’ the hand that would throw me over the edge and sadly for me it never came.
One thing is for certain though, the night was a real success, the place was packed and every musician that played on that stage shared a piece of soul with each and every one of us. So, despite my personal reservations we left The 100 Club that evening having totally rocked it with three bands who know how to bring the roof down!
Videos and some photography courtesy of Frau Mony YouTube channel, check it out!