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Jimmy And The DestroyersThe Adicts
The Duel
Jimmy And The Destroyers
100 Club, London
Thursday May 13 2010




Urban surf punks Jimmy And The Destroyers look like a band that was formed by accident, when three disparate people - a punk, a metaller, and an old school psychedelic rocker - walked in to a room and said to each other, 'Wanna play?' You can't beat a bit of diversity as a starting point, though, and sure enough the Destroyers pull a fine barrelling noise out of their rock box. Smashed-up instrumentals hammer along like a rickety Volkswagen Type 2 on its way to Newquay, a pirate flag flapping from the radio aerial. Fast and gritty. That's fine by me.

The DuelCarrying a torch for the first-wave punk sound, The Duel are rooted in the racket of The Clash, Penetration, and other mid-seventies street-wavers - the bands that played punk when it was still rough-edged and new; before it became reduced to rucking music for beer monsters, or spiffed up into airbrushed alternorock for wannabe-edgy teens. In short, The Duel are the real deal.

They mash up a certain touch of glammy guitar (like all good punks, I bet they own more than a few T Rex albums) with a stripped-down, nailed-down rhythm. Vocalist Tara Rez is fronts the whole caboodle with engagingly take-no-shit charm and a voice that's pure Laaahndon. In fact, if you chopped The Duel in half you'd probably find 'London' written through them like a stick of (punk) rock. London is where they're rooted; London looms in the band's songs like a stage backdrop. 'Rat Alley' at once deglamourises London and paints a paradoxically appealing picture of the city's ripped back sides, but that's The Duel's thing, right there. They can give the grubbiest streets a ragged glamour.

Old-schoolers who just kept going, The Adicts boast that they're the 'longest serving punk band with the original line-up'. I just love that 'serving', as if a punk band is a noble calling, like being the Archbishop of Canterbury. But although they've got plenty of years, several albums (there's a new one just out), and an extensive, erratic, touring career behind them, The Adicts don't seem dated, dented, damaged or deranged - or even particularly of the punk period.

That's because their music, fast, boisterous, and unashamedly packed with singalong choruses, is the kind of stuff that just works. Meanwhile, the band's image, somewhere between Clockwork Orange gangsters and a surrealist Morris Dancing team, has always given them an identity that disregards the passing decades, even as it disregards the usual sartorial rules of rock.

But mostly, of course, The Adicts' identity comes down to their frontman, Monkey, he of the manic grin and mad magician's outfit. Tonight he presides over the revels like a children's entertainer on a tartrazine rush: hurling glitter and streamers at the crowd in a non-stop frenzy of fun, he manages to combine cheery bonhomie with an ever so slightly sinister edge. It's just not normal for anyone to be this happy. The band batter out their gung-ho punker anthems with well-honed efficiency and nonchalant good humour - 'Joker In The Pack', a song that's almost entirely a rousing chorus, provokes a fist-in-the-air-frenzy; 'Easy Way Out' is a pogotastic singalong - and the 100 Club becomes a steaming temple to the god of Mosh.

The AdictsAmid the amiable chaos, Monkey rules like an ever-grinning master of ceremonies. Fans are invited on stage to form an impromptu chorus line; then comes 'Viva LaRevolution', the band's all-time anthem, and a veritable riot of exuberance instantly breaks out.

We'll stand back from the seething mosh long enough to make an observation: the Adicts' status as punk's wayward merrymakers works because, for all their antics and good-time humour, they are not, and never have been, a comedy band. These jokers are serious about what they do, and - crucially - they never let the laughs get in the way of solid songwriting and a full-on rock 'n' roll performance. And in Monkey, they've got a frontman whose puckish frolicing inhabits the fuzzy boundary where relentless jaunty absurdity shades into the stuff of cheese-induced nightmares.

Laugh all you like, but that grin will haunt you.

The Adicts: Website | MySpace

The Duel: MySpace

Jimmy And The Destroyers: MySpace

For more photos from this gig, find The Adicts and The Duel by name here.

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