PUNKS NOT DAD
I previously attended the launch party for one of PUNKS NOT DAD's past singles in one of Cardiff's trendiest night clubs, Demseys. However, this time they had excelled themselves by taking an upstairs room in the classically gothic monolith that is the Moon Club. Presently undergoing extensive renovations to its baroque interior, they played in the sumptuous, but slightly imposing, surroundings of the Versaille Room. With its mirrored walls, murals and chandeliers it made for an interesting backdrop for these purveyors of middle-aged musical mayhem to launch the video for new release MONKEY BOOTS.
However, before they took to the stage, we had the pleasure of listening to more competent musicians in the shape of support act SUNSHINERIOT. Having only recently formed, they've made great strides in forming a unique sound described as Afrobeat meets indie. Revolving around the dual vocal talents of Joe Ollman and George Nicholls, coupled with the band's engine room of Dave Williams on bass and Ewan Morris on drums, they could be the Principality's answer to Vampire Weekend. Their happy, upbeat, numbers were all well received and for a new band they appeared tight and confident. At times sounding not dissimilar to Paul Simon in his Graceland era, they certainly brought smiles to the faces of the assembled crowd and even gave the more agile punters a chance to strut their funky stuff. It was nice to briefly hear the sunny sound of Soweto when outside monsoon conditions continued.
Giving the crowd a brief respite to refresh themselves with a nice cup of Earl Grey, or for the more adventurous a small glass of sherry, the lights dimmed signalling Punks Not Dad's not overly anticipated new video.
Shot in stunning 2D on the mean street of Cardiff, unbelievably they had managed to rope in two celebrities - Peter Bowles and Lisa Rogers - to bolster the cast of band members, malcontents, malingerers and care in the community clients. Once finished, the sense of apathy amongst the throng was palpable. Despite a pending law suit from Adam Ant, I was able to get a copy of their opus for your delectation:
Without as much as a "Good evening Cardiff" they were off into their time honoured and rather dog eared set list. The Cockney Reject style drumming of "We are the Dads" got the audience out of its coma and "The Filth and the Fury" kicked them in the metaphorical bollocks to make sure they sat up straight and took notice. A rather envious side swipe was aimed at their impressive support act before next track "I Hate Your Band". It's rather sad to see bitter old men having a pop at the youth of today, who in the case of Sunshineriot, are not only eminently superior musicians but better looking to boot!
Old faithfuls "Punks Not Dad" and "Gaye Adverts Eyes" got the normal ripple of applause. Rather alarmingly punk legend TV Smith (he of the Adverts fame and real life partner of the aforementioned Gaye Advert) has agreed to play a gig with the band later in the year. I would presume he hasn't seen them play live.
Just to show that they are real people under the alter egos, they dedicated the next number to Brian Hibbard, TV actor and member of the Flying Pickets, who passed away last week. A breakneck version of "Only You" followed that would have done him proud. Rest in peace, Brian.
One of the good things about the band is that their numbers are short and therefore over fairly quickly. So a blitzkrieg of "Sellout", "Banned from the Barfly", "Poundshop" and "Credit Crunch" followed, with the latter teetering on the edge of being a half decent song. With the finishing line in sight they pulled out their biggest hit to date - #73 for a week in the Indonesia chart apparently - "In my Shed":
And then for the reason we are all here tonight, the unveiling of their new single "Monkey Boots". Being a perennial supporter of Dr Martens I must admit that I see little attraction in this rather effeminate footwear. Touchingly the band was all wearing them tonight. However, despite their attempt to rewrite fashion history I can't see many sink estate kids rushing out to purchase a pair. Innit. The song stuck to the tried and tested formula for PND of three chord thrash with Sid shouting, out of tune, over the top. The best bit, by far, is the spoken word section by ladies man Peter Bowles.
Finally they signed off with "Hi Ho Silver Surfer". This is by far their best number as it is largely written by someone else. I'm sure Jeff Beck was turning in his grave at their rendition.. er.. if he was dead.
OK, time to own up. The above (except the bit about Sunshineriot) is largely cobblers !!!!
Punks Not Dad, I think it's safe to say, do not take them selves too seriously. But scrape away that veneer of middle aged senility and a proper band lurks beneath. I've reviewed them a fair number of times over the years and I think that it's safe to say that, if nothing else, I always leave with a smile on their face (and usually have a ranging hangover the next day). However, their popularity is not just confined to duff old f*ckers like me as the large audience present tonight ranged over all age groups.
Whilst the topics of the songs may not be as achingly cool and earnest as some punk bands of past and present (step forward Clash, Crass, Conflict) this musical genre always had room for the amusing and comedic asides. The Damned, Ramones and John Cooper Clarke all used mirth as a potent weapon. So don't be fooled into thinking anything released by the band will therefore be any the less professional.
For pure entertainment they can hold their own against any punk band you care to mention. Once again they proved tonight that there is a willing audience to see the funny side of things. The event was an unqualified success and resulted in a crowd who were quite willing to enter into the spirit by laughing out loud, dancing in the aisles and shouting random abuse at the band. Also I very much doubt if Peter Bowles would have risked his hard earned reputation if he was not sure that the band deserved your support.
So if you can accept that the music still matters once you're the wrong side of forty, then check out their new single MONKEY BOOTS that's out on the 9th July. It can be downloaded from Amazon for less than the price of a fish supper.