Johnny Panic
Northampton Soundhaus, October 26th

Sometimes it's really rammed home to you that the world needs turning back the right way up.

How come Blair is still in power despite presiding over a deadly unpopular war opposed by the majority of the population? How come £76 billion (BILLION!)) is to be spend by the British government on replacing the Polaris nuclear weapon system to maintain the laughable illusion of an independent British nuclear 'deterrent' designed to kill us all, while schools, hospitals, housing projects and renewable energy schemes are all starved of cash? How come the richest one per cent of the world's population has seen their riches rise inexorably while one child dies needlessly of starvation every other second? And why, for every £1 given in aid, is £3 siphoned off in debt repayments? And how come thousands ASBOs are slapped on kids just trying to have a good time, while the world's millionaires get away with hiding a staggering $11.5 trillion ($11,500 billion) of assets in 'offshore' companies to avoid paying taxes?


And how come our airwaves, myspaces and MPs players are stuffed with brainless blowdried dross, emotionless emo by numbers and identikit 'punk' bands turning rebellion into money, while a band like Johnny Panic can pour out their intelligent, beautiful, powerful, thought provoking taut verses and huge choruses to a crowd of just 12?

I counted them. Twelve.

And these were the lucky ones. Undaunted by their surroundings, Johnny Panic nevertheless managed to walk it like they talk it, strutting and leaping and preening around the stage as if they were The Clash playing to 120,000 at Brockwell Park rather than to a half empty soulless warehouse on a Northampton industrial estate. Johnny Panic are a mess of energy, adrenaline, practised poses married to intense unsettling honesty, and songs to die for. The Rebel is certainly my current favourite ditty about the dangers of teenage conformity, the killer riff of Automatic Healer so appropriately 'borrowed' from The Police's Roxanne brilliantly underlines the song's message, while the extended terrace chant in Burn Your Youth made more sense than ever tonight - "I know you know they ain't got a fucking clue…"

My first two paragraphs may not have a causal link, but I'd suggest that the powers that be have nothing to lose and a lot to gain by getting us lot hooked on a diet of reality TV dross, meaningless nothing celebrities and mindless pop-pap.

And you have a lot to gain by tuning into bands like Public Enemy, The Hope, Bomb Factory, The Clash, The Coup…

And yes, Johnny Panic.

The world needs putting back the right way up. Johnny Panic are there, a small part of the solution.

And if you don't think that this is a proper review of a pop concert, then you know what you can do…

Fight the Power.

words and pix
Rosey R*E*P*E*A*T

Note for Joey Eyebank Ramone from Rob

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More conventional JP reviews and pix from 2006 here, here and here plus extra pix here.