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Choking Susan - flyerChoking Susan
Lost Cherees
Demon Smile
Brocker

New Cross Inn, London
Wednesday July 31 2013

 

 

 

 

In its authentic saaarf-of-the-river scruffiness, the New Cross Inn makes a pretty good venue for a punk gig. And Brocker make a pretty good punk band, in a no-frills rock 'n' roll manner.

They're obviously not in the business of upsetting any applecarts or storming any barricades - it's all straightforward stuff - but their boisterous noise works well as an opening racket.

Demon Smiles represent the modern strand of rousing, poppy, choruses-to-the-fore punk rock. They take their cue - I guess - from the likes of Green Day and New Found Glory: punk as singalong, air-punchy, hook-laden accessible rock.

Nobody in Demon Smiles actually does punch the air, I hasten to add - such stadiumisms would look a bit silly in a pub, and anyway the guitarist has his work cut out to fix his disintegrating guitar strap without letting a riff drop. But Demon Smiles have certainly got the choruses. Every song rises to a crescendo, everything is engineered to get to the chorus as quckly as possible. Then the band take the riff for a run around the block before launching into the next chorus. Brocker / Demion Smiles

It's effective stuff, although it does rather require a seething crowd of up-for-it pop-punkers down the front to make it work, and we don't quite have that kind of audience in the New Cross Inn tonight.

Still, I suspect it would probably only take a contract with Geffen Records and a judicious amount of production polish to get there.

Lost Cherrees represent a different strand of punk. They're an anarcho-punk outfit with a history that goes back to 1979, although I'm not sure how closely the line-up on stage tonight relates to the early incarnation.

But the Lost Cherrees sound is present and correct: spiky and punchy, with an engaging new-wavey feel rather than the staccato riff 'n' shout racket that we tend to associate with anarcho-punk.

Lost Cherrees, like Rubella Ballet, were the accessible ambassadors of a punk sub-genre that was often deliberately stark and offputting.

Tonight they're upbeat and sparky, humourous with an undercurrent of take-no-shitness. The two female vocalists - both lead, neither backing - grab attention and turn the band's punker polemics into a party with a point to it.

Lost CherreesIf we're talking about the various places punk comes from, then I think Choking Susan could legitimately claim to go back to the source.

They're from Detroit, home of the MC5 and the Stooges, and I think they've been necking some of that same juice.

They're a brash, car-crash cacophony, always controlled yet seemingly forever on the brink of going out of control. The guitar sound is massive, and clangs off the New Cross Inn's long-suffering walls like rusty metal thunder, while vocalist Colleen Caffeine, a glamorama Ramones sister, struts and swirls up front.

She's the focal point of the show, the subversive prom queen intent on bringing the school into disrepute. She sashays her way through 'Baby Doll', rips into 'Cuntopia', and collapses onto the floor for 'I Wanna Be Your Dog' - a song covered millions of times by millions of bands, of course, until it's become a kind of all-purpose default choice.

But Choking Susan live in the Stooges' back yard. As Iggy (almost) said, they gotta right.

Choking Susan

Choking Susan:
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Lost Cherees:
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Demon Smile:
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Brocker:
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For more photos from this gig, find Choking Susan by name here.

Page credits: Words, photos and construction by Michael Johnson. Nemesis logo by Antony Johnston. Red N version by Mark Rimmell.

Words and photos in Nemesis To Go by Michael Johnson are licenced under Creative Commons. You may copy and distribute this material, or derivations of it, provided that you give a credit to Michael Johnson and a link to Nemesis To Go. Where material from other sources is used, copyright remains with the original owners. All rights in the name 'Nemesis To Go' and the 'N' logo are retained.