Gin Goblins, Threats, Uncalm, KCHGH – The Moorings – 6/3/10
OK OK, so this isn’t going to the greatest review on FnS for a couple of reasons. One being I was none too familiar with three out of the four bands on Saturday’s bill. The second and more important reason being that, after being designated driver for the previous three gigs I had reviewed, this time out I was letting my hair down and having a few pints. Writing detailed gig reports and drinking copious amounts of lager don’t exactly go hand in hand with each other, especially when you get to my age, but I make no apology for it. Everyone needs a break and regular readers of FnS can rest assured normal service will resume next time out.
Anyway, lets start at the beginning. Pikel picked me up in Peterhead and we headed to Davie’s house in Portlethen where we would be staying the night, of course making a short detour past Asda to pick up some beers. We had a few cans in the house before getting a taxi in to the Moorings for the back of 8. The bar area was pretty busy already but we got the drinks in and noted that the Threats were already in residence. We had a few words with them, then a few of the Broch contingent of old punks arrived. The craic was good and the drinks were flowing well when the first band of the night – K.C.H.G.H. – took to the stage to an introduction from Brian Fudge who advised us that were making their Moorings debut.
I’m not entirely sure what pigeonhole to slot them into. They’re a four-piece band who play the extreme, noise, metal, hardcore thing – you know the sorta thing. Frantic spidery riffing from the guitarist, and the bass player on his five string bass as it turned out. It looked absolutely magic as their fingers flew all over their fretboard at lightning speed. Unfortunately, the fruits of their dexterity was lost to the ear beneath the hail of incessantly pounding drums and the animal noise vocals from the front man who didn’t bother with the small Moorings stage at all, choosing to exorcise his demons from the middle of the dancefloor for the entire set.
Our lot weren’t enjoying it much and, laughing at the irony of punks moaning about the music being just a noise, were debating moving on somewhere else for a “quiet pint”. I had a job to do though, and at that point anyway, was intent on getting a reasonable review done, so I moved down to the front to get some snaps and soak up the atmosphere proper. I’m not going to pretend I liked it. I’m not going to pretend to even understand it. But down there, with the few brave souls who formed a loose semi-circle around the frontman, I couldn’t help but pick up on the intensity of it. By the end of their set, there was even a wee sense of exhileration as I headed to the gents, though that may have been down to the relief of letting out six pints of lager after a 30 minute hold-in. While I was in the lavvy, I got chatting with one decidedly wobbly young gentleman who was somewhat euphoric about the bands performance, claiming they were the best band he’d heard since Pig Destroyer. I’ll just have to take him at his word hehe.
Next up was Uncalm. They’re the same thing. Kinda. They have five people in the band though and the (same) bass player only has four strings this time out. The lightning riffage has gone though, replaced by downtuned powerchords. The vocalist again does gutteral grunts and screams from the dancefloor. And that’s where I have a wee problem with this genre (or range of sub-genres). At some point tonight, one of the bands (sorry, can’t remember which of the two it was) introduced a song as being “about size zero models and all the problems and shit that goes along with that”. But how would you know?? It’s a topic I can relate to, maybe even feel strongly enough about it to want to add my voice to their wee song of protest against the wrongs of this exploitation of the vulnerable in our fairer sex. But I can’t!! I can go “OW OW OWOW! WAH WAH WAH!” with the best of them, but the meaning is lost. I feel like I’m just going through the motions. Similarly, I can’t get my head around the wee voice thanking us between songs. If your band makes a noise like Lucifer breaking out from the bowels of hell and wreaking havoc on the Moorings unbelievers, then I expect at the very least a “CLAP YOU FUCKERS OR I WILL EAT YOUR CHILDREN!”, not a polite “Thank you very much”. Maybe it’s just me though. There was certainly a good smattering of bods down the front who seemed to be having a fair old time of it, but the two bands in a row was just too much for me. I was bored by the second or third Uncalm tune and returned to the bar for more drinks.
Threats have had a fairly significant line-up change since I last saw them with founder member and lead vocalist/guitarist Jim having called it a day. I wondered how they would fare without him and how the duties would be divvied up amongst the remaining members. As they take the stage, I see that new guy Rab is at the left side with Gogsy now centre stage, with huge bassist Bobe on the right. They look pretty imposing lined across the stage and you wouldn’t want to get on the wrong side of them, but they’re an affable bunch really, smiling and having a laugh with the punters at the front. The familiar skittery drum intro to their eighties classic Politicians & Ministers kicks in and they launch into the song as one, with Gogsy now taking the lead vocal. It sounds fine and the wee misgivings I’d had are immediately laid to rest. Despite the additional vocal duties, somehow Gogs still manages to wring out his killer lead lines and fills that make him such a joy to watch, pulling faces all the while and making it look so effortless. The set seems to be weighted slightly towards their older material, though they may have just been pandering to the requests of the Broch contingent for favourites from back in the day. There’s also a few apiece from the recent albums and they sound better than ever. Live Fast, Die By Mistake really roars out of the PA with the band putting their all into it. I grab a few pictures then join the small crowd jumping around at the front. I’m chuffed when they play my favourite, 1980’s. Just a stupid, goofy wee riff but great call and response vocals on the chorus. There’s even a new song, American Now, dedicated to ex-pat Sex Pistol Steve Jones. It’s a goody and I’m now looking forward to these guys recording again. By this time, with the jumping around, the beer is beginning to take its toll. I can’t remember the running order, can’t even remember what they finished with, but they did play Go To Hell, Writing On The Wall, a blistering Rotten and of course Underground Army. Great stuff all.
So we returned to the bar for some more drinks and a bit more craic with the Threats guys – cheers for the free badges Gogs! Next up of course is the Gin Goblins. If you thought the Threats frontline was imposing, you wouldn’t want to meet the Goblins on a dark night. Gigantic bassist Coco is like a punk Jimmy Nail, looking like an undertaker in his huge black coat while front man mikey is like a cross between the gollum and Wattie Buchan. They seem like a friendly enough bunch though and they make a great sound. Fast and driving punk songs, strong melodies with lots of “Whoah-oh” backing vocals on the choruses. Just perfect for a drunken Saturday night. Sorry I can’t be more detailed about what they played – lager fuelled fun is all I can tell you. As I said earlier, I’m none too familiar with their material but, on this showing, I’ll be checking out their back catalogue real soon. The set passed in a blur and before I knew it, I was rushing down the latest pints as last orders was called. Pikel did a bit of minesweeping at the bar, a dangerous game at The Moorings. All too soon we were out on the street. Here’s hoping they get their late license soon.
Post Script – As we stood around waiting for the taxi back to Portlethen, I discovered a great new game. Scranning some of Davie’s chips and curry sauce then throwing them to see if you can make them stick to the front of his brand new Shatterhand t-shirt. Brilliant fun, and far more rewarding than actually eating them. You should try it some time.
New York Johnny – drunken bum.