This was the 70th Punk 'N Roll Rendez-vous at The Unicorn in Camden and my first visit to the venue since it had a bit of an upgrade that seems mainly to have been in improving the bar and the sound system for the live room. We arrived reasonably early but still missed the first act on Jessie Pie.
Still we were in time for Elizabeth The Second who are part of the current seemingly never-ending wave of Italian indie groups coming over to play in London. For this lot it's also the album launch for the bands debut album Two Margaritas At The 55. This trio opened with a song about wanting love that sounded a lot like Australian Blonde the Spanish indie band.
The title track from the album was good fun and got a good slice of the crowd going although I didn't see anyone drinking Margaritas. They seemed reasonably in need of a Kiss On The Lips that one of the more memorable songs was about. Then as if by magic they started counting going 6 7 8 9 before going all paisley pop on us for the last 3 songs of the set that would be the direction I'd want to hear more of. The closing number bravely asked people to give them a euro well it could almost be the call to shower them with coins but as no one took up the cry we had to settle for enjoying the bands Indie paisley rock. They should be on a bill with Franc Cinelli or one of Stiv Canterelli's bands.
Next on and also playing their first ever London gig are Birkenhead duo Crapsons who opened a fast and furious set with a song that claimed over and over They're Gonna Hit Me while sounding like an early Carter The Unstoppable Sex Machine even if they had a live stand up drummer rather than a boom box also they have a bass player rather than a guitarist so are they drum and bass.
Gee Whizz kept the frantic pace up with some very funny in-between song banter before they put there feet down to make sure they were Going Fast On The A55. Then Bassist and Singer Markey asked if anyone lived on a council estate before they played King Of The Council estate about the best dressed person on the estate and why they are like that a very funny song.
I really liked the bands celebration of life that had a chorus of You Don't Know When You're Gonna Die however the song that really sealed the deal was the closing number about Sheds And Wheelie Bins and they even managed to get most of the crowd singing the chorus back at them about how many wheelie bins someone owns, great fun and they'd be perfect to see at Rebellion.
Next on were DragSTER the 5 piece hard core speed punk band from Coventry who were angry frenetic and after a while also pretty reductive in that most of the songs sounded very similar and no matter how much Fi shouted and hectored us on Disturbed or Enemies or Vultures I have to say for me nothing much stayed in my head afterwards.
I also spent a good part of the set trying to work out if the tattoo I could see on Fi's thigh was of Elvis, Johnny Cash or an early Cliff Richard it was hard to tell in the gloom of the Unicorn while they sang about One Bad Cop that had some very angry and intense lyrics worth hearing. They closed with the rather speedily intense Dead Punk that went down well. I know they have played Rebellion several times so I should have seen them before now and if you like Hardcore speedy punk with issues they deliver the goods.
Next on are Healthy Junkies whose own Nina Courson helps to run the Punk 'N Roll Rendezvous night so this is as much of a home gig for them as you can get and they are another band I managed to miss at this year's Rebellion I wanted to see them but failed as often happens at Rebellion.
They opened with a song that I think was No Control but either way was good and angsty with Nina throwing herself about like she always does while screaming that we should Never Surrender. This Is Not A suicide always sounds good and this version had enough anger in it and some great guitar from Phil Honeyjones. Runaway Devil as ever mixes the autobiographical and fiction so you never quite know how much of it is Nina's own story or just the story of another teenage wild child in trouble.
I Don't Give A Damn has enough of the righteous anger that we all need just to get through these days and they were bouncing all over the place while playing it. The Sound of My Guitar was impassioned and had Nina on the floor screaming the lyrics at us. They closed by telling us how we are all rejects not sure what the song is called but a mighty fine way to close the set that was as entertaining as they always are if and when they come to your town go and see them.
Then finally it was time for some prime time Biker Rock from Birmingham from the well-tuned machine that is the Black Bombers. Now while they didn't play at rebellion the bands bassist Darren birch did at what turned out to be his final gig with The Godfathers whose lead singer has rather comically banned me from seeing them, so I also missed that particular farrago. The Black Bombers as usual opened with a good and greasy instrumental that eventually leads into That Kind with Alan Byron leaving us in no doubt as to who he was singing about.
The band seem to have a dark malevolence about them on Day After Day as Dave Twist really drives them along with his as always rock solid drumming. Well yes Gnarly sounds well Gnarly built around a rock solid riff and Darren Birch's forceful bass playing.
Break It Down sounded more like they were ramping it up to be honest as the pace sort of picked up a bit like they wanted to rev the bike up a good bit in time to get properly Reckless that sounded like they wanted to ride at 120 mph in the rain full pelt without a care in the world.
Yes they maybe Crazy but damn they sound good while they are going crazy that's for sure and the Early Warning they issued was that the set was nearly done and well we all needed to rock some more and this song certainly had that Sabbath meets The Stooges rumble going for it.
They closed with a magnificent sing along version of Green On Red's Hair Of The Dog the original of which due to be re-issued next year. But this version was great and I know my other half thought it was an Iggy Pop song which is of course a huge compliment as they rocked the hell out of it and brought a really good nights music to a close.
Thanks to everyone involved in putting on a show as good as this for the bargain price of nothing but a hat being passed around once asking for contributions this show was well worth paying for.