It's been about 20 years or so since I last saw Vice Squad play an intimate gig rather than seeing them on big to huge stages at Festivals and the Mau Mau bar in its entirety is smaller than some of the stages, so this was something of an old school treat as it was No advance tickets ten quid cash on the door and a mere three quid a can of Strongbow. Yes a top value night out as they had two opening acts that were also well worth catching.
First on are Electrics who in the year or so since I last saw them have added a saxophonist to the bands line up and what a difference she makes right from the opening song that I spent my time trying to work out what they'd Got and if I'd Got It Too they sounded really good like the Only Ones but with Cravats style sax.
Alan Blizzard spat as much bile as he could at the Dead Boy he was singing about at breakneck speed so they could make sure someone Fell Down into a wailing sax attack as the two guitarists ripped it up.
The next song was a mix of wry humour and bile as they dish the advice to be Careful What You Wish For as the result could be some other bloke who must be amped up on something judging by the speed there playing at.
Remember also flew by us at a good rate before they did two of the songs I remembered from last time Natural Born Killer certainly had a forceful bass line and the sax really seemed to make it even catchier than before.
Drop By City is a really cool song about sofa surfing and crashing round mates hoping they help you out the result of which might be in the next song where Alan sings about Looking Like The One I need who is obviously the bloke screaming Fuck You at us on the song that closes the set and confirms they are well worth seeing again.
Next on and a late replacement for another band that I'm glad cancelled as well The Blue Carpet Band are something else with a drummer that looks like an teenage Ian Gillan a cool indie looking Bassist who I know I've seen play before but can't quite figure out who I saw her play with and then there is the singer who with Elvis Fucking Christ in big letters on the back of his leather jacket a cool quaff and drainpipes had real presence.
From the moment they kicked into a song about being Jumpy they were a full on neo-psychobilly assault of super high octane slightly Twitchy punk a bit like The Hives or The Nomads as they sing about No Cadillac's they add to the Greaser side of the bands act.
Middle Kids sees the singer flinging himself off the tiny stage and as throughout the set he's a magnetic focal point and I Don't Want To Go Home feels like an anthem for the sort of stop out reprobates that find themselves watching The Blue Carpet band rip it up.
We then got one of the most passionate versions of Sonic Reducer I've heard in a while it was also better than some of the versions I've heard live by people who helped write the song. They totally nailed it the guitars were frying our brains and they thought we should do a Jumble dance that included the singer rolling on the dancefloor.
He then made a statement most of us couldn't argue with yep My Jackets Better than Your Jacket all the song is missing is a ner ner na ner ner chorus. Having convinced a woman to take him home for the night he then complains bitterly the she Ain't Got No Rock & Roll in her record collection damn he'll not be coming back again, but I need to see this band again, so much fun.
I Love The City was another adrenal hit with lots more psychotic dancing from the singer who was now stripped to the waist and thinking he was in need of a Hangover Cure to finish the set with and well why not. I'll certainly be seeing more of The Blue Carpet band if I can.
Obviously Mau Mau was packed for Vice Squad and this set was faster than the set I saw at Rebellion in August. It was also a different set list which is cool and also why I'm guessing at some of the songs titles right from the opening blast of what sounded like Punk Rock city Beki and the boys were not messing about.
I think they did Electronic eye next it was a bit of a blur they were not messing about and with Beki also playing guitar it rocked like hell. They have always been about Taking Control and doing what they want too. That's why instead of the normal Latex Love we got PVC instead as ever made Beki sound like the female Lemmy and before anyone says anything no she'll never look like Lemmy thankfully.
Beki was soon telling us to get Back In The Cage and if only it was that simple it still sounded great in a tiny bar like this. Beki lost her guitar before If I Knew What I Know Now that always sounds great live as does Out Of Reach even if this time Beki and the band are well within reach of most of the audience.
Ordinary Girl sounded as good in a small bar as it usually does on a huge stage only less room for Beki to act it out, but really no need to call the Punk Police because we all know what a bunch of bores they are and it is a great song anyway.
Is Beki still the Voice Of The People, well she's certainly the voice of my kind of people if only she was running the show things would be a whole lot more fun and she has some cracking dance moves too.
It was soon time for Starvation Box that still sounds cool and gets its point across really well. Spitfire was really forceful and got us all going as Paul Rooney and Wayne Firefly couldn't keep their eyes off the one woman mosh pit who was most entertaining it has to be said although I'm not sure that she'd been Sniffin' Glue no matter what Paul said in between songs.
They closed with Last Rockers and these days with the way gig attendances have been going they really are among the Last Rockers still doing it in a proper old school fashion. This was a really great gig that should have been able to sell out a venue 10 times the capacity of The Mau Mau Bar, still I'm glad that I live close to The Mau Mau bar as they consistently punch above their weight with the bands they put on.