The Underworld is the perfect venue for yet another band with naming and membership issues. Tonight's headliners are billed in full as being "Manitoba NYC Formerly The Dictators NYC Formerly The Dictators" - yes the legal issues are with a certain former Dictator who doesn't wish to play or tour with the band and thinks no one else should either.
Well the money wasted on lawsuits would have been better spent on recording budgets and touring expenses. Also due to this confusion, this show was under attended and people had trouble working out who or what the show would be.
Nonetheless, I did a deal outside the venue to get my ticket in exchange for a copy of the new Jerry Nolan biography, Stranded In The Jungle, so that this review is brought to you by Jerry Nolan rather than any of my usual sponsors.
We got in early enough to catch the last few songs of More Kicks: a new band playing power pop garage rock pretty well. The three songs I heard were all decent, the best of them was I'm On The Brink, which was frenetic and edgy in the right ways and certainly suggests these guys are worth catching live for more than 3 songs.
Next on were Guitar Gangsters who I know I've been meaning to see for a good while. Actually, I wish I could remember who was trying to get me to see them play as this trio of street punks with a pop punk edge are well worth seeing. They opened with a song that might be called Make Me Feel but was a good shot of adrenaline to get the sparse crowd going and the bands very own One woman mosh pit dancing and she didn't stop until they finished playing.
Singing about Here Comes Everybody seemed laced with irony in a venue with about 40 people at that point, no matter how spunky a tune it was. It was followed by the really cool Tarantino's Son all about what it might be like to be Quentin's son.
Hope & Glory seemed about right for Remembrance week and wasn't a full on boots and braces epic but not far from it. Guns & Knives has just the right message in terms of the stupidity of carrying and fighting with them over a full on sing along pop punk tune.
Sex & Money will always make for a great song title and the song that went with it was pretty cool and had me wondering how we missed this lot at Rebellion. I wonder who they clashed with? I assume the song introduced as being Shut Up and Get Me a Drink was actually called When You're Drunk, but whatever it was a good booze-soaked tune about drunken excess that was perfect for staggering about to.
When The Razor Cut sounded like it was looking back to the days when Razor slashing wasn't unusual if you pissed off the wrong punk or skin rather than that razor chopping out the lines. Nothing To Shout About was actually a song well worth shouting about with a very catchy chorus too.
I think they introduced Undefeated as being about being in a band that's been around for ages and is still kind of unknown but they only formed in 1989 that's pretty recent right? The song itself was another Ramones-y slice of poppy punk and that was fine with us.
Singing a song called Going To London when you are already here is a bit odd but the song sounded cool so it didn't matter. They finished with Turn The Tables and the still rather sparse audience gave them a good cheer at the end of a pretty damn good support set.
After the break, thakfully a few more people crawled out of the woodwork so the Underworld felt at least a third to half full. Mind you, that was probably inevitable as this gig clashed both with Thurston Moore's sold out show at the 100 club and Ut's latest reunion show at The Lexington. Well, those were among the excuses you might have had for not seeing Manitoba NYC who are the same band that I last saw at Rebellion a couple of years ago as The Dictators NYC.
They opened the set with a rip-roaring run through Party Starts Now and they had us all bouncing around to it with Handsome Dick Manitoba being the second ex-wrestler turned singer I've seen in under a week and by miles the only one I'd want to see again. Damn, he makes that joker in Fozzy seem like a chump even if Handsome Dick was knocked on his Heini by a stray monitor he was back up before the count got to five.
As Handsome Dick was singing about having a Haircut and Attitude I was wondering if we'd see his haircut that was underneath his beanie. Either way, Ross The Boss's guitar sounded like it had an attitude all of its own. It's been a long time since they could be considered The Next Big Thing but it didn't matter as everyone was singing along and having a blast.
Pussy & Money is what makes the world go round and Handsome Dick introduced it with a few words about the pussy grabber in chief and how this song seems to be his philosophy for life. Damn, Thunderbolt Patterson's drums drove this song along at a cracking pace.
It may have been a Tuesday night but they were already dreaming of The Weekend and if Dean Rispler could find enough people to join him and the band in the quest to be the folks Who Will Save Rock & Roll. Judging by tonight's turn out it's still a work in progress which is a shame as they are such a cracking band that should have easily sold out this venue.
They then made the place go a little nuts for Minnesota Strip and after playing a brilliant version of the old Dictators classic, Handsome Dick explained that it was about New York's version of the Chicken Run at Victoria Station only in the NYC version the perverts didn't wear pin stripe suits and work in offices. He was also shocked that referring to this got the biggest cheer of the night.
Still it was time for the bands favourite dance craze with Baby Let's Twist. Somehow, it is still just a great fun pop punk song. The Savage Beat featured some of Ross The Boss's most intense guitar parts and Daniel Ray on the second guitar wasn't far behind him.
Handsome Dick made sure no one took the lyrical intent of Master Race Rock the wrong way and let's face it The Dictators aren't known as Gods of Jewish Metal Punk for nothing!! Doing it since 1973, It still sounds like the brilliant slice of Punk rawk it always did. They then did the only new song of the set, Supply & Demand that's about some of the band's issues with former members and the reason they are out touring to fulfil the demand for them.
They then gave us the band's credo. Yes, Faster And Louder is how they have always liked things and they are not changing anytime soon and thankfully Ross The Boss still plays as fast as ever. They then tipped a nod to the bands home town with New York New York, another classic Dictators sing along.
They closed the set with a massive sing along to Stay With Me that included Handsome Dick jumping into the audience and on the chorus handing the microphone to various fans. He managed to start this by handing the mic to members of The Healthy Junkies and Neon Animal who all sounded better than I did.
Yes, of course the audience went nuts for more and they came back and played a great long version of Two Tub Man which included a breakdown in the middle for the band intros and then they finished the night off with a great version of Kick Out The Jams - every bit as hot as the version the MC5/DTK played at the Underworld a few years ago.<
If you see adverts for either Manitoba or The Dictators NYC don't hesitate buy tickets and go see them a great live band, regardless of the internal issues.