A Night of Punk Nostalgia | Review
The Black Bull, Randalstown • Saturday 29 July ’17
By Neil Trelford
After a week of heavy rain, the sleepy hollow of Randalstown was about to get another thunderous storm. This time it was in the name of charity, The Cancer Fund for Children organised by local music enthusiast Noel McKillen.
Just of Main Street, the Black Bull was hosting it’s Night Of Punk Nostalgia – Part 2, featuring two local bands, Antrim lads The B-Sides and Belfast boys A.R.S.E.
Night Of Punk Nostalgia – Part 1 had wetted the appetite of the local crowd for the taste of punk classics, delivered profusely by A.R.S.E.
Tonight an eclectic crowd, of those returning for their second bite and others that would sample both the venue and the sounds for the first time, meandered into the comfy upstairs lounge and were ready to be rocked, punk-style.
First up is The B-Sides, a powerful three piece that uniquely has the drummer as the singer. They’ve been on the scene with this arrangement for a good few years but are now on the lookout for a dedicated singer…….any takers then contact the guys through Facebook.
They open with one of the most recognisable and enduring punk songs of all time ‘Anarchy In The UK’ by Sex Pistols and they deliver it in their own raucous fashion. It’s the pacesetter for the night and the eager horde applauded approvingly.
(Above video) Sex Pistols – ‘Anarchy In The UK’ • Source: SexPistolsVEVO (c) 2012 Universal Music Operations Ltd
More Pistols classics are mixed into the energetic set ‘Silly Thing’, ‘Pretty Vacant’ and ‘Bodies’. These are complimented by ‘Warhead’ the distilled mantra by UK Subs, a heavier thrust of Cockney Rejects ‘Badman’ and a trio of original tracks penned by guitarist Paul Rutledge. ‘Smell A Rat’, ‘BBC’ and ‘Churchofgreed’. These originals have a chunkier sound, the drone of Metallica guitars are an obvious influence but they are not out of place and the crowd warmly clap them to their finale.
Sham 69’s legendary football terrace manipulated anthem ‘The Kids Are United’ fades out their set with tonight’s punters chanting and foot-stomping along, indeed United tonight for a worthy cause.
Headlining is A.R.S.E, fronted by long time punk veteran Petesy Burns, formerly of Stalag 17 and nowadays a main-stay guitarist with Belfast legends The Outcasts.
A.R.S.E are quickly establishing a reputation as the best ‘Punk and New Wave’ covers band in the country.
They perform a barrage of tracks that not only chuck classics ferociously straight in your face but also some unexpected curveballs hit you delightfully in the ribs.
Kicking off with exploding guitars and Petesy’s capital city voice, they launch into ‘Suspect Device’ as if it was Jake Burns and SLF themselves.
(Above video) Stiff Little Fingers – ‘Suspect Device’ • Source: Punkattack77
The crowd is buzzing as the band counts a Ramones-style ‘One Two Three Faw…’ into a somewhat oddity for a cover but delivered meticulously ‘Commando’ by the New York legends Ramones.
The blistering four song intro continues with the Buzzcocks juvenile ‘Orgasm Addict’ and The Clash’s droning ‘What’s my Name’.
Petesy, donning a flattering red punky jacket, interacts jovially with his audience before launching into another rarity ‘Mirage’ by Siouxsie And The Banshees from the 1978 debut album The Scream, delighting those that were more into the Gothy side of alternative music.
This band are tight, musically astute and their delivery of The Jam’s ‘A Bomb In Wardour Street’ followed by Sex Pistols ‘No Feelings’ and another number by The Clash ‘White Man In Hammersmith Palais’ are worthy tributes to those three iconic bands. These three bands were obvious influences and favourites of those that have ventured out to the Black Bull tonight.
(Above video) The Jam – ‘A Bomb In Wardour Street’ • Source: Karl Harris
Another welcome obscure belter was ‘Sonic Reducer’ by US slickers The Dead Boys of which A.R.S.E landed brilliantly with the same attitude as The Dead Boys much acclaimed 1977 debut album Young Loud and Snotty.
Blazing towards the end of the set the boys were on a euphoric roll with SLF’s ‘Straw Dogs’ and Subhumans 1982 grizzly anarcho-punk epic ‘Religious Wars’ being squeezed in before the crescendo.
The penultimate blast, a satirical conspiracy themed ‘California Uber Alles’ by Dead Kennedys was as rampant and menacing as a US fighter squadron. This was their debut single released in 1979 of which lead singer Jello Biafra later confessed he himself made up the conspiracy regarding the then ‘Governor of California’, Jerry Brown, none of it proving to be true.
(Above video) Dead Kennedys – ‘California Uber Alles’ • Source: rp61productions
The last song of the set was deliberately the first punk song, well at the least the first claimed British punk single to be released, ‘New Rose’ back in 1976 on Stiff Records. Petesy mimicking the renowned deadpan intro ‘Is She Really Going Out With Him’ made infamous by Dave Vanian of The Damned.
And a what a ‘damned’ fine Night of Punk Nostalgia was had in sleepy Randalstown, raising £600 for a ‘damned’ fine cause.
Well done to organiser Noel McKillen, The B-Sides, A.R.S.E and all those that turned up……now let’s rock’n’roll onto Part 3.