BACK STAGE AT PEPPERMINT IGUANA HQ: Gigs, Festivals, Parties, CDs, Books, Protests, travels, photography and Cardiff City FC

Friday, March 05, 2010


If you want to find a pissed off anarchist with a liking for ska-punk and black hoodies, you wont go far wrong by going to a No Borders benefit gig. For some time now the more active anarchists in Cardiff have been focusing their energy on No Borders Wales and tonight they have gathered for drinking of beer and grooving to loud shouty punk rock.

Prior to the event the Promised Land was described to me as “a hot new venue in the centre of Cardiff”. On arrival I realised I had been there before but it had not clicked because it is not new and not particularly hot. Come to that, I would hardly describe it as a venue, more – well – a pub! Enough of the semantics though, good gigs can happen anywhere and walking towards the ‘venue’ it soon became clear that at the very least we were in for a night out surrounded by old friends.

Now I like a bit of shouty punk as much as the next man, in fact probably more than the next man, but I am into moderation in a big way. A spoonful of shouty punk can add energy and sweeten proceedings; two spoonfuls of shouty punk can be harmful to your teeth and three spoonfuls can be undrinkable – which is a shame.

Each of the bands on the bill tonight are capable of putting on a good show and in different circumstances probably do, but for me I like a bit of variety. I don’t like bills that are single genre, whether it be a terabyte of techno, a bong full of reggae or a tankard full of diddly, but an overdose of hardcore punk is probably the hardest to swallow.

Now it could be argued that there is variety on the bill, the publicity says:

Expect hard sounds and hard politics from these outspoken bands. There will be crust-punk from Jesus Bruiser, anarcho-punk from Filthy Habits, and hardcore-punk from The Shortcuts”.

I have been jumping about to punk rock since the heady days of 1977, but I am not entirely clear what the difference between hardcore punk and crust-punk is, judging by tonight, not a lot.

Okay, time to stop whinging, cos in fairness the bands don’t deserve it, they all manage to harness an energy and anger that is just a distant memory to this ageing punk – and perhaps more importantly they manage to turn the upstairs of a pub into a hot (if not new) venue. But to paraphrase the t-shirt, this old punk will never die; I just stand by the bar.

The event was a benefit for No Borders, an organisation I support, but it was not that support that dragged me into town tonight, it was an appearance by Bristle ska-punk outfit, Spanner. Yes, another punk band, but Spanner are an uplifting, double- caffeine and guarana cup of punk stirred with a brass spoon that will wake up the tiredest of old punks.

Spanner are not just punks that have latched onto the anarchist image, they are direct action veterans that happen to also play in a ska punk band. Having been around the block a few times these guys are tight and tonight they wake up all but the totally wrecked (and there are one or two of those around) and get them up and dancing. Well worth the wait.

As for the totally wrecked? ..... Not a good idea to fall asleep at a punk gig, as the guy in the picture below found out

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