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'London, Notting Hill, Mau Mau Bar, 27 March 2017'   

-  Genre: 'Punk/New Wave'

Our Rating:
I finally made it down the hill to the Mau Mau bar on Portobello road for Tommy Kennedy's long running Zodoa Monday night club night. Considering it's not far from home and who has previously played there, this something of an omission on my part.

Still, we arrived while the first band Rank Outsiders were playing and they lived up to the name, playing a set of Landfill indie punk. It was, however, reasonably tight and bouncy enough to get several of the crowd going but was utterly forgettable. I think about the closest they came to a memorable tune was Make You Cry near the end of the set. If they want to be anything other than Rank Outsiders they will need to work out how to make the songs a bit more original and memorable.

Then things went downhill completely when Black Swan Event came on. They are a trio of old guys who ought to both know better and play better than they did. This was piss-poor garage-rock where the drums and bass seemed to be permanently out of synch with each other.

None of them looked like they wanted to be playing to us which meant I spent a good part of the set playing a game of spot the minor music legends walking around. Indeed, it was good to see Brady out looking pretty healthy and also Mr Lammin among others but I was wondering what the pair of them were cooking up and I'd like to hear them playing together a lot more than suffer the nonsense on stage as they really sounded like they were still on the trip they were singing about. If you need a real Black Swan Event go to Bibury and look at the black swans in the river.

Thankfully, Taurus Trakker sounded miles better than the supports. From the opening instrumental on, they sounded tight and well-rehearsed. This is their first show playing material from their next album due out later this year. Seven Ways is what I guess the first new song was called and while Martin Muscatt's vocals took half the song to get up to scratch, it had all the classic elements of Taurus Trakker's West London take on the world around us.

Chaos All Around is a cool slice of street punk with some seriously energetic drumming from Alison Phillips and totally in synch bass from James Simmins. They have obviously got the new material road ready. Never Stopped was an adrenal rush with some nifty guitar work to punch the story along.

I wish I could figure out what they were putting on as my notes look like "uke" and I know they didn't play any uke. Suicide, however, was another real life story and warning to make sure to help those in trouble around us. They Don't Care About The Poor Man is a modern blues-punk racket full of bile for the ruling classes and the state of the world for those of us who don't have millions.

Then it was time for some classic Trakker and to go find the King Of Chicken Wing. No, it's not Kevin Coyne, but it got most of the crowd going, throwing their best chicken wings out. Then it was time for us all to get on board the Westbourne Train deep through the pits of Hell back to our favourite part of West London. Well for me it's a mile south of home and good old Portobello Road. Yes it's a good chugging train song that sounds like an express going out of control.

Martin then invited one of the minor legends on stage and up stepped Bruno Wizzard from The Homosexuals to improvise a little tune about Johnny and what he's up to and the state of the world over the sort of racket you can trust to make most of us smile. Even if Bruno's vocals didn't go down well with everyone.

They closed with pretty much my favourite Taurus Trakker song, Building Ten, which always gets me smiling. I love the lyrics about a job somewhere you don't want to be just to pay the bills. It was good end to a tight set and I look forward to hearing the new album soon. It was also good to finally get down to the Mau Mau on a Monday night after all this time.
  author: simonovitch

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