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Goldblade flyerGoldblade
Vince Ray & The Boneshakers
The Fits

100 Club, London
Monday December 10 1012





The 100 Club never really changes. It still has a grand piano on stage - which, in all the years I've been coming here, I've never seen anyone play.

Bands still arrange themselves in front of that endearingly DIY plywood 100 at the back of the stage. And the walls are still covered in framed photos of the stars who have passed through - jazzers and punkers alike in a bizarre pictorial alliance.

Tonight, we're here for the punkers. And here comes our first lot, in front of the plywood 100, as is traditional. Vince Ray And The Boneshakers is the latest musical excursion of - who else? - Vince Ray, a man best known as a rock 'n' roll illustrator.

If you see any artwork - record sleeves, T-shirts, posters, flyers - that has a certain stylised, cartooninsh, 50s feel to it, chances are it'll be a Vince Ray. The flyer for tonight's gig is a Vince Ray. But he's had a few bands over the years, too, and this, it seems, is the latest one. The Boneshakers play...well, what d'you reckon? If you guessed at a certain stylised 50s-feel rock 'n' roll, you'd be bang on, although, let's face it, it was never going to be a tricky question. Not when you clock the stand-up bass and that semi-acoustic Gretsch Vince Ray himself is toting.

Vince Ray And The BoneshakersThe Boneshakers give it a good old kickabout, Vince hollering out the vocals like he's shouting the odds at his local drag strip, the bassist and drummer locking horns and knocking that rhythm down flat.

It's a brash, punky take on the vintage rock 'n' roll sound, again without any unexpected tangents or deviations - whatcha hear is whatcha get.

That's a limitation in a way, but there's also a certain advantage there, for a band that can stake out its territory and own it. Vince Ray knows his stuff. And he owns it, too.



The Fits are what I suppose you'd call a 'second wave' punk band, in that they formed in 1979 and had their original career in the early 80s. Such distinctions seemed terribly important, I remember, back in ye olden days, when any punk bands that weren't part of the original mid-70s surge were seen as latecomers to the party.

Now, of course, it hardly matters. What's a year or two this way or that way, when it's all three decades in the past? These days, everybody's old school.The Fits

Old schoolers they may be, but The Fits look pretty fit and certainly have plenty of energy. They brew up a good old no-frills go-around, with the frontman giving us a fine repertoire of moves - ducking and diving, jumping onto the drum riser, whipping up the energy as the band dig in to their chunky, garagey racket. They're a straight-up bunch, these Fits: in much the same way as Vince Ray's mob, they don't go off on tangents or rip up the punk blueprint in favour of their own wild notions. But if you want yer actual punk rock, delivered in a no-frills package, here's a band that'll do it for you.

Somewhere, there's a rock 'n' roll mad scientist who boiled down The Clash, distilled Iggy Pop, and mixed the two potions together. The result was a chemical reaction called Goldblade.

GoldbladeWhen Goldblade hit the stage, all of a sudden everything gets louder, harder, faster.

Thre's no ceremony, no big intro. The band plunge headlong into their broiling stew of rampaging rocknoize. It's all swagger and strut, guitar riffs bouncing off the ceiling, the drums cannoning out a moshpit-inducing rhythm.

The sound has all the ripped-up edginess of classic punk, but don't let that fool you. Nobody's getting all nihilistic around here. Goldblade know how to be a good old showboating rock band.

For all the band's no-shit attitude and careering, full-tilt racket, they're entertainers, too.

And amid all the pumelling racketry, sprinting from one side of the stage to the other, looming over the front row, hauling the whole show along by sheer energy, here's Goldblade's vocalist, frontman, and all-round human earthquake, John Robb. He's a one-man burst of rock 'n' roll intensity, the frantic focal point of the Goldblade rampage, challenging the crowd to match him move for move as he rocks it up like a crazed master of ceremonies.

The band rise to the occasion, never letting the velocity drop. The guitarist aims his instrument at the crowd and looses off some machine-gun riffs; John Robb leans out into the half-thrilled, half-apprehensive crowd and places his hand on a few favoured heads, a half-naked rock 'n' roll pope bestowing a blessing.

GoldbladeIt's all a punk rock masterclass, a one-band encapsulation of how this ancient, creaking thing we call rock music really should be delivered. Goldblade should offer training courses. I can certainly think of a few bands who could do with some remedial instruction. Until then, Goldblade demonstrate the way it should be done.

Watch and learn, kids.



Goldblade: Website | Facebook
The Fits: Website
Vince Ray & The Boneshakers: Website | Facebook

For more photos from this gig,
find Goldblade by name here.



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