JOHNNY MOPED + THE ALBANIAN FISH BROTHERS – THE PRINCE ALBERT, BRIGHTON 30.4.22
I can assure you that it’s certainly no accident that the 77 minute epic documentary titled ‘Basically, Johnny Moped’ is rated a high 7.5 on IMDb. It’s a funny and often moving account of one of UK music’s great lost treasures – Johnny Moped. If you haven’t as yet watched it, then now is the time! Find it HERE.
I’m ashamed to admit that this was only my second live encounter with this South London mid 1970’s formed punk rock outfit, having witnessed them supporting the Damned back in 2018 at the Brighton Dome – Read our review of that night HERE.
Johnny Moped’s early personnel included the Damned’s lovable Captain Sensible and American singer-guitarist Chrissie Hynde of The Pretenders fame. They proudly sacked Chrissie twice, but it certainly didn’t do her any harm did it.
Johnny Moped were ready formed for the punk rock movement and as frontman Paul Halford (aka Johnny Moped) reminded us during this afternoon’s set at The Prince Albert that they had played the famous Roxy Club in London. In fact they initially became one of the pioneering punk bands that played live there on a number of occasions. There two gigs in February 1977, one supporting Eater and one backing the Damned. The following month they played two more, one supporting Slaughter & the Dogs and the other backing the Damned. In April, they were on a bill that included Wire, X-Ray Spex and the Buzzcocks. Pedigree lineups indeed, but unlike all of those bands listed above, Johnny Moped were arguably still under the radar. Was it the moped word that is associated with modes? Who knows! But after a trio of singles and an album, the first incarnation of the band called it a day in 1978 after a four year stint.
But I guess you can’t keep a good act down and Johnny Moped have bounced back several times, in 1981, 1992 and then in 2007 to 2008 and now thankfully for the past 11 years they are back at it, and thank God for that!
The current line-up today consists of Paul Halford (aka Johnny Moped) on lead vocals, Slimey Toad on Fender Telecaster guitar, Jacko Pistorious on Fender bass, Robert Brook (aka Rock and Roll Robot) on Gibson guitar and Martin Parrott (aka Marty Love) on drums.
This afternoon the sun was shining outside, but inside the venue the punters were more than happy. The Albert was rammed full, which highlights the fact that the band are held dear amongst the mature punk fraternity. We were treated to in excess of 20 numbers – they didn’t quite stick to the setlist – and the performance commenced at exactly 3:30pm and concluded 83 minutes later at 4:53pm.
We were served a wonderful amount on 1976 style punk rock filled with the occasional Sex Pistols riff and enthusiastic drumming. You could see the camaraderie and friendly p*sstake banter between the band members all the way through the set – The lads were having fun!
There wasn’t a weak number to be found anywhere this afternoon, but the highlights for me were ‘Black Witch Climax Blues Band Genetic Breakdown’ (which was epic), ‘Catatonic’ (a decently fast punk number), debut single ‘No One’ (pure punk class), ‘Ain’t No Rock ‘n’ Roll Rookie’ (was the same), ‘Musical Bore’ (their ‘White Riot’ number), but best of all was ‘Darling, Let’s Have Another Baby’, which was dedicated to me by drummer Martin, as he was aware that my recently deceased partners earworm tune. Vocalist Paul informed us that it was written by their old bassist Fred Berk who sadly passed away.
The great thing about today’s songs was that it was impossible to tell which ones were released in 1977 and which ones came out in 2019, which certainly would suit the punk purists.
Johnny Moped setlist:
‘Devoid Of Emotion’ (from 2019 ‘Lurrigate Your Mind’ album)
‘No Way Back’ (from 2019 ‘Lurrigate Your Mind’ album)
‘Living In A Dream World’ (from 2019 ‘Lurrigate Your Mind’ album)
‘V.D. Boiler’ (from 1978 ‘Cycledelic’ album)
‘Panic Button’ (from 1978 ‘Cycledelic’ album)
‘Save The Baby Seals’ (from 1991 ‘The Search For Xerxes’ album)
‘Doom Spires’ (from 2019 ‘Lurrigate Your Mind’ album)
‘Hey Belinda!’ (from 2019 ‘Lurrigate Your Mind’ album)
‘Simon Cant’ (from 2016 ‘It’s A Real Cool Baby’ album)
‘Darling, Let’s Have Another Baby’ (from 1978 ‘Cycledelic’ album)
‘Every Dream Came True’ (from 1991 ‘The Search For Xerxes’ album)
‘Hell Razor’ (from 1978 ‘Cycledelic’ album)
‘Loony’ (Slimey Toad solo single)
‘Black Witch Climax Blues Band Genetic Breakdown’ (from 2019 ‘Lurrigate Your Mind’ album)
‘Real Cool Baby’ (from 2016 ‘It’s A Real Cool Baby’ album)
‘Catatonic’ (from 2019 ‘Lurrigate Your Mind’ album)
‘Incendiary Device’ (from 1978 ‘Cycledelic’ album)
‘No One’ (from 1977 ‘No One’ single)
‘Ain’t No Rock ‘n’ Roll Rookie’ (from 2016 ‘It’s A Real Cool Baby’ album)
‘Hard Lovin’ Man’ (from 1978 ‘Little Queenie’ single)
‘Groovy Ruby’ (from 1978 ‘Cycledelic’ album)
‘Hiawatha’ (from 1991 ‘The Search For Xerxes’ album)
‘Musical Bore’ (from 2016 ‘It’s A Real Cool Baby’ album)
‘I Believe Her Lies’ (from 1991 ‘The Search For Xerxes’ album)
Missed this gig or want to see Johnny Moped live again? Well you won’t have to wait long as they will be performing live at the Concorde 2 in Brighton on Sunday 29th May 2022 at The Official Jordan Mooney Memorial Charity Concert. The event starts at 2pm and runs until 11pm, but ‘Moped’ fans had better get down there early! Also on the bill that day are The Monochrome Set, Gaye Bykers On Acid, Spizzenergi, Peter Perrett, Jamie Perrett, DITZ, Bootleg Blondie, AK/DK, The Pink Diamond Revue, Monakis, and Fruity Water with John Robb as compere. Purchase your tickets directly from the Concorde 2 HERE.
The Albanian Fish Brothers provided support for this afternoon’s concert at The Prince Albert. Not content with nearing completion of their first studio album for 17 years, The Fish Brothers have reformed their offshoot The Albanian Fish Brothers for the first time in an equally long period. Alongside Martin Fish (vocals) and Dave Cook (guitar), Blonde Wanton was making a rare outing on bass, and stixman Adrian Harris was making a rarer appearance.
Their 37 minute, eleven tune set commenced bang on 2:30pm with a track about a cucumber. About 20 punters were in attendance, but thankfully the room quickly filled up as the band could no doubt be heard in the downstairs bar.
This mildly amusing (for some) local outfit could arguably be described as soft oom-pah punk meets The Wurzels in a Carry On Chas & Dave style, that is best suited to be performed in the beer tent at a rural tractor pulling competition. I feel Brighton has long moved on from this archaic themed mode, although I’m sure the band are in real life lovely blokes.
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