The Lurkers – Cafe Drummond – 7/11/09
On arrival at Drummonds, we find out that tonights roster has been reduced from 5 to 3 bands but, at a fiver in, no-one is complaining too much. Once inside, we park ourselves at the bar. This would be base camp for the rest of the night. There’s a scattering of people here, most of whom I know, with a small bunch of youngsters at the tables on the other side of the pub. Mick runs into an old mate from his RAF days (30 years ago!) while I hook up with the Fraserburgh contingent. There’s about a dozen of them through tonight and all are in good spirits. There’s a bunch of people I know from Aberdeen too – in fact I’d say at least half of the small crowd here tonight I’ve spoken to personally about this gig and encouraged them to come along. The promoter though seems to have adopted the Wayne’s World method of promotion – i.e. if you book them, they will come. It clearly isn’t enough though because the audience tonight is, to put it politely, sparse. It doesn’t seem to be bothering Arturo Bassick though. He’s working his way through the small crowd at the bar, chatting happily with acquaintances old and new.
The first band takes to the stage and a small crowd comprising the dozen or so youngsters gathers in front of it. The band informs us they’re called 4-Star Sunday and kick off with a punky sounding opener that half-catches my attention, causing me to curtail my conversation and head closer to the front for a listen. It proves to be a deceptive opener though because from there on in, they slide into a generic Nu-Metal sound, more akin to Linkin Park and their ilk than anything remotely punky. Well, not my definition of punky anyway. I guess the guitarists AC/DC t-shirt and neatly coiffured hair should have given me a hint. Or maybe the jauntily angled baseball hat of the singer. Oh well. The assembled youngsters seem to like it though, clapping politely between songs though seemingly not sufficiently moved to do anything more than stand and gawp while the band is playing. I’m quickly fed up and return to the bar for further conversation, this time with Fred and Dod from Toxik. And then of course, the usual Aberdeen gig trick happens. 4-Star Sunday finish their set, clear their gear up and leave the venue, taking their posse of friends/fans with them, never to return. Why do people do this? If you are happy enough to take a slot on the bill of a name band, even if it’s a small name like The Lurkers, then I think it’s the least you can do to actually stop and see that band play their set. It’s common good manners FFS. But no, the usual me-me-me attitude is at work here once again.
Toxik Ephex understand how things work. They’re now in their 30th year of existence and I don’t think I’m overstating it to say that the Aberdeen music scene wouldn’t be what it is today were it not for the pioneering work they did at and with the 62 Club back in the late 70s and early 80s. So despite the poor turnout tonight, they turn in as great a performance as if they were playing a sellout show. They’re playing as a 5 rather than the recent 6-piece tonight with brothers Fred and Dave on guitar duty, third guitarist Frankie probably pulling pints at The Moorings. Kicking off with Does Someone Have To Die (To Show What Heroin Can Do), a small crowd of vintage punks gathers stage front. Manic front man Dod Copland doesn’t have his usual bag of electronic tat with him tonight but he still puts in a compelling performance, giving a spoken word introduction to many of tonight’s songs emphasizing the key lyrics for what is to follow. I can’t really say how this went down in general, being too busy jumping about and singing along myself. This band has such a wealth of strong material and they produce a few crackers tonight. Criminal Record, Obstacles, Shades Of Grey are all trotted out to perfection with the punch and energy that they’ve never quite managed to capture on record. It gets a little too much for me when they play my favourite – Take Your Share. I’m somehow compelled to mount the stage with Snaba and Jammy in tow and take over one of the mics to provide backing vocals. I dunno how it sounded out front but I thought we were great! They finish with a storming take on their debut single Fallout Shelter.
There’s not much more people here by the time The Lurkers take to the stage but Arturo & co don’t seem fazed by this at all as they tear through the opening Freak Show. It’s 100mph and hard as nails, the chunky wall-of-noise guitar now handled by Steve Straughan formerly of Holy Racket. Despite several references to 1977 throughout the night, Art is not one to rest on his laurels and the set is a good mix of material from all periods of The Lurkers’ history. Go Ahead Punk sits happily alongside I’m On Heat which in turn fits well with new song Come And Reminisce, with its lyrics poking fun at those who would only listen to the “old classics”. Art is in fine voice throughout and he’s such an endearing chap, I really can’t understand the sniping that goes on about it not really being The Lurkers. He’s been doing their vocals for 20 odd years now so if anyone is a bona fide Lurker, it’s Arturo. Besides, his picture is on the cover of the first single which is good enough for me. Talking about that first single, I think they may have played it for an encore. Or was that Ain’t Got A Clue? See, this is where it gets a little vague for me. Between the lager and the pogoing (when I was able), the end of set is a little blurry. But anyway, it was a good night all things considered. Just a shame that more folk didn’t make the effort. New York Johnny.