Towers of London, Bedford Angel, 7.6.06
Ever get the feeling you've been cheated?
And who'd have thought, nearly 30 years on from John Lydon's final Rotten-esque outburst, we'd be feeling the same way again.
This was a fantastic gig. Not in terms of musicianship - but when has any music that matters ever been about that? - but in terms of making a statement, an arrogant, self confident 'fuck you' to all those who'd short change us, serving us froth not substance. To the MTV2 producers with their sanitised 'punk' rock rebellion (sponsored by Vans), to the easy listening crew that pour out Radio Two dross and seek to describe it as 'new music', to the small time scenesters who hate anyone who rocks the boat or thinks for themselves and to pathetic tiny minded so-called music journalists who don't understand the beast that is rock'n'roll.
To all these people, this was a wake up call. Or, more accurately, a size 11 converse trainer to the balls while they were dozing comfortably with their Snow Patrol and Embrace albums.
So the sound wasn't perfect and the musicianship not faultless? So what? If you want perfection, stay at home with your shrink-wrapped CD collection. There's more damn excitement in Donny Tourette's sneer than in all the grooves of your Coldplay albums, or whatever forgettable indie dross it is that DiS are peddling this week. The singles "Fuck It Up", "So Rude She Was" and of course "Air Guitar" all sound enormous, sing-a-long stupid enormous punk rock terrace choruses, all delivered with an unmistakable sense of aggression and menace, directed at who knows what exactly, but that's not the point, the point is that it's there. It's the disaffection and dissatisfaction that's central. And even if this means a band partly relying on taking the piss, Darkness style, for their impact, then so be it. At least they're doing something to rock the boat of a complacent now.
And doing it well. 15 year old misfit kids were soon joined in the pit by vintage punks, as the band spat, posed, preened and played through a 45 minute set which went on to include a sampler so that they could play their strings laden self- affirming "King" or the acoustic based "Northern Lights". However it's pretty straight forward rock'n'roll that's central to the set, messy, imperfect and brilliant. Pretty soon I was slammed against the barrier and realised that I was moshing for the first time in God knows how long. And it felt good.
The point isn't that Towers of London are the best or most important band in the world. The point is that they exist, and are kicking up a stink. In so doing, they can change lives, showing that another world is possible through reclaiming what's ours from the establishment, starting with the pilfering, cheating 'entertainment' multinationals and their lackey trendsetters and taste meisters.
Kill the pop Scene, as Towers of London might say.
What do you think about that?
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Thanks to Claire at Hall or Nothing (who else?) for sorting this, and The Roar Club in Bedford (http://www.theroarclub.com) for being perfect hosts.
Words and pix by Rosey R*E*P*E*A*T