- UK SUBS -
- Cardiff Barly -
- 27 November 2008-
There is little that can be said about Charlie Harper
that has not already been highlighted countless times over the 30 plus
years that the UK
Subversives have been in existence. Even if they are musically not your
cup of tea, I defy anyone not to be respectful of a 64 year old man
who continues to perform night after night in the most far-flung spots
of not only the UK but the globe. So it was tonight that a largely middle
aged audience gathered to pay homage to the "Godfather of Punk"
in his second visit to the Cardiff Barfly within the last 6 months.
As previously, the support was by Guns on the Roof, a band that did
not overly impress me last time, mainly as I thought (incorrectly) that
they were a Clash tribute band. However being under no such illusions
this time I could give them my full attention, and they actually turned
out to be half decent outfit. Dressed pretty much all in black they
had a suitable air of menace, and you can't knock their levels of energy
and enthusiasm as they knocked out several slabs of street punk to the
expectant crowd. In truth whilst they offer nothing that hasn't been
done countless times before that does decry from their efforts, and
also they seemed like genuinely nice blokes when they later circled
the audience trying to flog their latest CD.
The Subs line up was the same as earlier this year - which in itself
must be a record given their revolving door policy with band members
Charlie's "Angels" for tonight were Alvin Gibbs on bass, Jet
on guitar and Jamie Oliver (yes really) on drums. Now lets be honest
here, everyone knows
exactly what they are going to get at a UK Subs gig. So if you like
trad-jazz, hip-hop, garage, drum & base (really anything that isn't
your face punk rock) then perhaps it would be best that you stayed at
home tonight and washed your hair.
They open up with a blistering "CID", and then
quickly followed it up with early classics "I Live in a Car",
"I Couldn't Be You" and "New York State
Police". As per normal the set list is predominantly made up of
tracks from the early years, although it was good to hear some relatively
recent songs in "Bitter & Twisted" and "Squat 96".
However quickly it was back to the
tried and tested oldies-but- goodies with "Emotional Blackmail",
"Left for Dead" "Tomorrows Girls" and "Teenage"
coming in quick succession. The band is tight and battled hardened after
years of constant touring, and Charlie sure knows how to work a crowd
getting everybody to sing an acapella chorus in the anthemic "Warhead".
Resplendent in his Rancid T-shirt he has the audience eating out of
his hand and has as much energy as a man half his age.
They finish the set with "Riot" and "Stranglehold"
but return for a rather apt encore, as in the week that Guns 'n' Roses
finally release their "Chinese
Democracy" album the Subs finish with "Down on the Farm"
a number Axl Rose chose to cover on their last offering "The Spaghetti
Incident". Oh and how
many front men would then stay around and sell you a t-shirt from the
merchandising stall. Charles Harper a punk legend !!!