SUBHUMANS + COCKWOMBLE + THE DINZ + ROTTEN FOXES – THE CON CLUB, LEWES 02.06.19
Just eight days ago I had frequented The Con Club to see the Queen of Ska, Doreen Shaffer, play with The Skatalites (read the review HERE) and now here I was making my way back to the same venue to watch anarchist punk stalwarts the ‘Subhumans’ perform live in a complete contrast of musical styles.
I was dead excited to see how this band from my youth had developed. Amazingly it has been about 35 years since I last saw Subhumans play live, so given the chance to see them play in Sussex was too good an opportunity to give up. I can’t recall the exact venue where I last saw them, but I’m sure it was around the Hammersmith area, so I suspect it was either The Clarendon or The Fulham Greyhound. What I do recall though is the energy and anger on show with a very lively crowd which would surely be impossible to replicate all these years later.
In the week leading up to tonight, I decided to reacquaint myself with the band by getting out my original pressing of ‘The Day The Country Died’ with a gatefold sleeve on Spiderleg Records, for which I paid no more than £3.25. It had been a long time since I had listened to this record, but it didn’t take long to remember why I had an affinity for their music and some of the messages they were portraying through their lyrics. This had set me up nicely for tonight and given that I had heard only good things about their recent live performances I was feeling optimistic about the evening ahead even though I had never seen any of the support acts before.
First band up were local Brighton hardcore death punk band ‘Rotten Foxes’ and as I walked into The Con Club some ten minutes after their set had started my eyes were greeted with the unusual sight of one member of the crowd skateboarding on the dancefloor and being joined by the lead singer, not always of his own free will as he was grappled to the ground by the lone mosher. I then looked onstage and saw the bassist sporting a quite wondrous mullet with quality sideburns and moustache, a green and yellow headband with matching sweatband, crop top, short (denim) shorts, long white socks topped with blue and red hoops, and numerous tattoos. I had only been in the room for a couple of minutes and already I had never seen anything quite like this before.
The visuals were brilliant and as for the music, it blew me off my feet, being so loud and fast. This was a whirlwind of a set as they got through 14 songs in approximately half an hour, leaving nothing at home as they gave their all in the name of mullets and hot pants.
The last song of the set was a tribute to said hairstyle which started off in the seventies, but really came to prominence in the eighties. Bassist Jimi told us how some fads come, and some fads may go, but the mullet is here to stay. Sadly, or maybe not, nature has called time on my ability to grow such a feature in tribute of seeing this band play live just the once, but they will forever be etched in my mind. They also played their most recent single ‘Ship It In’ for which they have made their only ever video, so you may want to catch this collectors’ item, oh and it’s a great listen too.
My disappointment of missing the first ten minutes of the set was only worsened by hearing that this breath of fresh (h)air are actually calling it a day on September 21st when they play their farewell gig at The Prince Albert, some 1331 days after their inception. You would be foolish to miss it like I have foolishly missed out on seeing them play live up until now. They have described themselves as turbo fuelled mullet punk for a lost generation and they will most definitely a loss to this generation. Enjoy the chaos while it lasts.
Tonight’s setlist was:
‘Intro’, Crafty F*ckers’, ‘Jimi’, ‘Pints’, ‘Make Me Pretty’, ‘Guessing That You Know’, ‘Methpocalypse’, ‘Work’, ‘Ship It In’, ‘Cellar Dweller’, ‘Dehumanise Me’, ‘Over The Ropes’, ‘Get Outta My Head’, ‘Smokes Let’s Go’, ‘Mullet’.
Rotten Foxes are: Rusty Nails (vocals), MacDaddy (guitar), Jimi Dymond (bass), Danny Camelot (drums).
Second band of the evening were Pompey punks ‘The Dinz.’ I missed most of their set when they supported the UK Subs at The Con Club, so I was intrigued to see what they had to offer. Having suffered the sad setback of losing their guitarist to cancer, they have continued as a four piece and will be releasing a ten-track album later in the year.
The Dinz provided us with no frills, no nonsense, traditional punk rock. The dress sense was a bit more conventional than ‘Rotten Foxes’ with vocalist Mark sporting a pair of closed toe sandals. The band members look like they are of an age where they were around for the original punk scene, so you have to admire them for giving it a bash themselves and keeping the spirit of punk alive. There wasn’t any time for interaction with the crowd as they crammed in eight songs from their forthcoming album which promises to be a good listen based on their set.
Tonight’s setlist was:
‘We Are The Dinz’, ‘No No No’, ‘No Gods No Masters’, 1085’, ‘Going Nowhere’, ‘I Don’t Want To Be Like You’, ‘Gungadin’, ‘Wake Up Time To Live’, ‘I Don’t Care’, ‘Terror Attack’, ‘Don’t’.
The Dinz are: Mark (vocals), Turkee (drums), Steve (bass), Rob (guitar).
More info on The Dinz HERE.
You can only but imagine my disappointment when the third band of the night ‘Cockwomble’ transpired not to be May, BoJo and Rudd, though without any well-known capitalist burger joints anywhere near Lewes, I was short on ammunition to throw at them had the aforementioned walked onstage.
I had no idea what to expect from ‘Cockwomble’ having never seen or heard them before tonight but thankfully any doubts were short-lived when Ali, Vicky and Leah provided me with an exciting set packed full of great lyrics, sarcasm, energy and good tunes.
This post-punk trio from Brighton have plenty of topical material with ‘Henchmen’ about the Tories, ‘Henry 55th’ about the Royal baby, and one of my favourites about certain angry old men entitled ‘Gammon’ of which I’m proud to say I don’t fall into that category. I also enjoyed ‘Radio One’ about not being played on Radio One, which is probably understandable given some of their lyrics, but that is what made their songs so good, so let’s hope they don’t sell out anytime soon!
Formed in 2017 this band have only been playing live for ten months and they were very impressive tonight and it is obvious to see why they have already been signed up to play Rebellion Festival this year in spite of their short existence. Ali delivers the songs well and his guitar riffs along with Vicky’s rumbling bass and Ramonas poses make a strong frontline, whilst Leah keeps it tight behind the drums. They finished off the set with ‘Threads’ a song about how it’s all going wrong, but you can’t help feeling that based on this performance it is all going right for Cockwomble.
Tonight’s setlist was:
‘All of the Money! None of the Style!’, ‘Conspiracy’, ‘Henchmen’, ‘Want Stuff Buy Stuff’, ‘Henry XXXXXV’, ‘Radio One’, ‘Gammon, Threads’.
Cockwomble are: Ali Gavan (vocals/guitar), Vicky Smith (bass), Leah Dennison (drums).
More info on Cockwomble HERE.
The time had come for the headline act and Subhumans took to The Con Club stage. Vocalist Dick immediately told us how he was glad to have visited beautiful Lewes for the first time on what was the last night of their tour. Their pleasure was short lived when a member of the crowd howled his disapproval at the local fox hunt fraternity. This created a mischievous undercurrent which could only lead to a night of riotous anarchy.
Starting off with ‘It’s Gonna Get Worse’ criticising all government and not just the Tories, the set definitely didn’t and the pace was unrelenting. Dick is not scared to make you feel uneasy. “This is a song for all of you who wear designer brands made for less than a pound in Vietnamese sweatshops” was his introduction to ‘This Is Not An Advert.’ At the end of the night I spotted one person in a designer branded t-shirt hiding away at the back of the room and who could blame him. Next up was ‘Apathy.’ I would be the first to admit that I have mellowed over the years, maybe as a result of parenthood, but this was the night that reignited the fire in my belly. The anger, passion and belief created by Dick was even more apparent than in the early eighties and gave me good reason as to why we should never mellow or else the powers that be will walk all over you. Don’t be part of the apathetic human race as described in the song.
The mosh pit was heavy duty, not packed, but bodies were flying all over the place, and amazingly serious injury appeared to be averted as heads flew close to the stage. I saw one male go out holding his shoulder in quite some pain only for him to return later though not with quite the same gusto. I remained on the periphery for the most part where I could mosh mildly having recently suffered a shoulder injury myself. The skateboarding punk from earlier disappeared hallway through the set, possibly ejected but I won’t surmise why, yet still the mayhem continued at a ferocious pace. Dick was obviously impressed and commented on how the mosh pit workout was a whole lot better than aerobics.
The encore was a stonker with the band leaving some of their best songs to last. After some teething problems whilst trying to get audience members to count to four they launched into ‘Mickey Mouse Is Dead.’ The hard-hitting ‘No’ and ‘Religious Wars’ brought the curtain down on a night that really wasn’t for the faint hearted. This was no holds barred anarcho punk at its finest.
Dick left us with the nice thought that we should all make the most of life as we could all be killed in a coach accident on the way home, not that the band nor anybody in the crowd was travelling by coach but more likely that a coach would crash into us. Dick also couldn’t back it up with any statistics, but he clearly has some underlying hatred for coach drivers. Thankfully I am unaware of any such accident and the fact that I was either following or being followed by a Police car for 20 miles of my journey home made it that much safer.
Tonight’s thought-provoking gig left me questioning some of the choices I have made in life. It has certainly made me open my eyes to ensuring that the future is brighter for our offspring and beyond. My choice to wear ear plugs though was a sensible one as it was that loud that I still returned home with a ringing in my ears.
Tonight’s offering showed that punk is no one-trick pony and it comes in many guises as was noticeable from the different styles of each of the bands on show.
Tonight’s setlist was:
‘It’s Gonna Get Worse’, ‘Big City’, ‘Work Experience’, ‘This Is Not An Advert’, ‘Apathy’, ‘Freedom’, ‘This Year’s War’, ‘Nothing I Can Do’, ‘Internal Riot’, ‘Killing’, ‘Fear’, ‘Who’s Gonna Fight In The Third World War’, ‘Thought’, ‘Society’, ‘Work-Rest-Play-Die’, ‘Rats’, ‘Black And White’ (encore) ‘Mickey Mouse Is Dead’, ‘No’, ‘Peroxide’, ‘Religious Wars’.
Subhumans are: Dick Lucas (vocals), Bruce Treasure (guitar/backing vocals), Phil Bryant (bass), Trotsky (drums).
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