Surfin’ Lungs and The Manges - GIG 2

GIG: Surfin’ Lungs and The Manges - GIG 2
DATE: January 25th 2008
VENUE: The Hobgoblin, London Rd, Brighton
COST: Free
Another great gig, another crap toilet

Billed as a “Surf Punk Beach Party,” Punkerbunker who organized this are one of life’s optimists. It was pouring with rain the whole day! Still, with brolly in hand we were determined to “beach-party” the night away anyway.

The Hobgoblin can be a scary place. It’s usually full of Goths. Yeah, they’re harmless enough, but it’s strange going into the gents and there’s a row of them fighting for the mirror to fix their eye liner.

There were 6 bands on tonight…yes, SIX. We were a bit late arriving and missed the first band, Those Damn Owls. The second band on the bill, The Griswalds were mid-way through their set when we reached the pub and escaped from the pouring rain. A run-of-the-mill 3 chord wonders, but harmless enough. You can tell they enjoy what they play.

Next up were The Cheeseburgers(?). The singer had a speech impediment and looked really nervous, tending to introduce the songs away from the microphone so we couldn’t catch what he said. Someone who knew him, described him as “intense.” The guitarist looked like he was playing a toy guitar he was so big! Best guitarist so far tonight (and even played a lap steel for a couple of songs), the songs were pretty good too and we did enjoy their set.

We had our heads pummeled enough by The Hotlines on Friday night, so that gave us a chance to crash out for a bit in the main bar and get our heads pummeled by the old Scottish glass collector instead. A character to say the least.

Technical problems delayed The Surfin’ Lungs’ start as Clive wrestled with a dodgy amp. They finally got started after a spare amp was found and as a result of the delay, played a slightly shortened set. The lay out of The Hobgoblin made this set feel a bit more intimate than the Dirty Water Club. I felt the band were more electric and up for it than on Friday. Maybe that’s what happens when you play regularly like this.

The Manges turned out as great a show as they did earlier in the weekend. They may have too much of the Ramones in them at times, but there’s no denying they know how to rock. The crowd surfer was brave, considering he fell through a “gap” and was dropped on his head! We’re glad The Manges came over from Italy. It was worth traveling to see them again.

So, another cool gig.
The venue is quite good for small gigs, as the back room is more than ample for the stage and a small crowd. The fact the gig was free, and we had the opportunity to see the Surfin’ Lungs again, compensated for the quite pricey beer prices in what would be considered a student pub (pennies change from 7 quid for 2 drinks!). Did we mention the toilets!

Surfin’ Lungs and The Manges - GIG 1

GIG: Surfin’ Lungs and The Manges - GIG 1
DATE: January 23rd 2008
VENUE: The Dirty Water Club, Boston Music Venue, Tufnell Park, London
COST: £7 on the door
RATING: Great gig, not so great venue

A cold Friday night in Tufnell Park, London, and the first of 2 gigs over the weekend kicked off at 9.40 in the Dirty Water Club with the first of 3 bands on the set for that night - The Hotlines, a young Brighton Garage band pounding what seemed like seven shades of $*** out of the drum kit! And that’s about all we remember from them!

Second on the bill, the band we had come to see – The Surfin’ Lungs. Dressed in their trademark multicoloured beach shirts, they lost no time plunging into their vast songbook and delivered class songs ranging in age from the time of their first LP release, "Cowabunga", passing through Lets Go To Rockingham, through to the more recent Surf Drags And Rock & Roll through to a new beach song that will feature on their next CD release, with the polish and professionalism that oozes from these Godfathers of UK Surf.
“Hey Bo-Diddley” was sung back by the crowd gathered at the front of the stage, as well as cries of “Holy Guacamole”. Their instrumental, The Godfather, reverberated through the venue, played in tribute to the recently deceased Patrick McGoohan, and Psycho Surfer with shades of Pulp Fiction was just ACE! The Lungs’ recent shows have been outside the UK, playing to Surf festival crowds in Italy and Spain over the last few years, so it was great to be able to see them on home soil again.

The 3rd act had travelled from Italy, from a town not far from Pisa – The Manges. Dressed in burglar-style black and white striped t shirts, this band looked good and their sound did not disappoint. These guys are the Italian Ramones, with all the energy you would expect from a wild punk band but with the voices blended that makes every song sound great. Towards the end of the set, one of their friends got on stage and took the mic and the crowd were jumping so much The Manges did a few more songs before finally leaving the stage just after mid-night.

So the verdict of our night? Well, the music was great but the venue does leave something to be desired. The pillars in the room and the DJ booth make it hard to see the stage from any angle other than from right in front of it and seating is pretty much limited to 5 or 6 booths to one side with sticky tables and hard, worn out bench seats and a few hard wooden chairs dotted around a couple of tables mid way back from the stage, forcing you to stand for the whole time (which can be a pain for a gig that is spread over 3 or more hours!) if you don’t arrive early to bag a seat with your coat!
Many of the music venues we have been to can’t shout about having great toilets, but the ones in this place would have to rank towards the bottom of the pile. I suppose we should have been grateful that one cubicle on the ladies had loo paper!

Celtic Connections 2009, Shoeshine Records Showcase

GIG: Shoeshine Records Showcase
DATE: January 17th 2008
VENUE: ABC, Sauchiehall Street, Glasgow
COST: £15

We traveled from Hemel Hempstead up to Glasgow for our second annual visit to the Celtic Connections festival. We tuned in to Radio Scotland as we reached the border just in time to hear on the news that there had been a murder in Maryhill. Class! This was real life imitating art. Taggart lives!We left our hotel to go for a pizza and who did we bump into? Only the BMX Bandits who we were going to see. Hugs all round. Hadn't seen these guys since The Pearlfishers gig at last years’ Celtic Connections.

The Shoeshine gig was our first visit to the ABC, a converted cinema on Sauchiehall St. A great sized stage, good standing spaces, and a bar where you never had to wait very long to get served.

First up was a band called Boa Morte, who sounded like Leonard Cohen in a coma.

The BMX Bandits were next on. Just fantastic fun all the way through. Have to say though, 30 minutes is nowhere near enough time for these guys. Duglas must be one of the best front men a band could possibly have. Rachel looked as if she was preggers on stage and we decided it would be too dangerous to ask her in case we put our foot in it. Actually, when we met her later it was very obvious that she WAS. A new wee bandit due in April it seems.

Then we heard some new songs from Teenage Fanclubs’ Norman Blake. They sounded very promising to us. Even though there was just the two of them on stage, we could hear some nice harmonies there.

Top of the bill was Attic Lights. All the months of touring last year showed with this very slick performance. Not contrived or anything, just really professional. Fame and fortune awaits them in the coming months. We couldn’t decide on who was the best singer in the band.

It was a great show to be at, and they really enjoyed it too.

Afterwards we headed to the Central Hotel for the Celtic Connections club. But another £15 each in changed our minds.