Year Zero – First up tonight are Black Country old school Punk Rockers Year Zero. They play an excellent set of older style punk tunes with solid drumming, heavy bass, New York Dolls/Stonesy guitar riffs and vocals which show hints of early Joy Division.
They are a tight band aided by Tim of Cracked Actors fame on drums who also provides backing vocals. He is brutal in his approach and never misses a beat. The band complement each other well and they clearly have many influences from the early days playing rock and rolling punk and even manage to work in some tambourine.
‘Heart Shaped Bullets’ with it’s driving rhythm, and memorable chorus made the set really take off and ‘Wolf Town’ was a great ode to the singers home town. With heavy drumming and some great tempo changes ‘Your Pretty Face’ was infectious. A great set.
Coventry legends The Ramrods originally formed during 1979 as a rock band styled like the Ramones and played venues like the Hope and Anchor and some high level supports. The songs, many early originals are well crafted which demonstrates they always had pedigree. ‘Solidarity’, is an incredible tune. They sound these days like a cross between Neil Young, Tom Petty and Springsteen with excellent rhythm, melodic catchy lead riffs, dancing bass and a drummer who is frighteningly tight and plays some great tom riffs. They are an impressive band who no doubt could have done more back in the day given the right breaks. ‘Back Home’ was a true classic.
The Dementias are another Cov punk band who sound like really the bands you might hear on early punk compilations such as ‘Live at the Vortex’ or early Roxy compilations. They brought along an entourage clearly keen to watch them put over their three chord no nonsense punk about how shit life is and sexual exploits. They sounded at times like Sham 69, meets the Anti Nowhere League.
With a singer looking like a punk Alvin Stardust they had some catchy songs and can play. They had some effective bass hooks and ‘Way Back When’ had the lyrics we all wish we had written. In the songs towards the end of the set the guitarist showed his skill as a lead player and maybe he should flaunt it more. They put everything into this entertaining set and the audience were with them.
Chelsea – it’s a very long time since I have seen headliners Chelsea live and having reviewed their recent album ‘Mission Impossible’ I was really looking for to this and as ever they didn’t disappoint.
‘Mission Impossible’ was an early track with its chugging guitar, catchy chorus and wicked lead riffs. It set the scene for the whole show, full of the rock and roll swagger but given that the band features James Stevenson and Nic Austin on guitars and Mat Sargant on Bass this is no surprise. Gene October is on top form self-assured and clearly enjoying every moment and the drumming spot on.
October let’s the songs do the talking and every catchy chorus is blasted out by the whole band. It is easy to forget how many anthems Chelsea have written over the years. ‘No Ones’s Coming Outside’ and ‘I’m on Fire’ are classics and it was great to hear early B Side ‘The Loner’ and ‘Twelve Men’ with its machine gun riffs and chorus hook.
‘War Across the Nation’ with its menacing driven rhythm and lead riffs is pretty awesome and the fact that they all sing so well rams every chorus home and ‘Last Drink’ signals the final round of the show. As a kid growing up on a council estate in the late 70s ‘Urban Kids’ call to action chorus will always be up there with the best punk anthems. And just to top off the show ‘Evacuate’ and ‘Right To Work’ end a great set.