Originally published in Beat Motel issue 2
Saturday night at a packed Steamboat is always a good place to be. In this case made even better by the return of The Big as well as The Ballistics CD launch.
First up were The Rejects, and what a fine set they played. Bass player Doozer was seated on a bar stool giving the impression he couldn’t be bothered but in reality had hurt his back so the apparent laziness was quickly forgiven.
They played a nice line in sax-influenced ska with some good old ‘shouty’ punk thrown in for good measure. There was some wonderful abuse hurled at the more prominent members of the crowd for their non-participation and this was very funny for all except those it was aimed at. It was clear very early on that this would be one packed, hot gig so I returned to the bar for some cooling liquid refreshment once the Rejects had finished their short but very enjoyable set.
Afterwards the band did their best to liberate as many people of their cash as possible by selling them copies of their CD’s. Moment of the night for me was some lad being made to dance for everyone’s amusement and only after he’d finished was he allowed to buy a copy…fantastic marketing ploy chaps !!!
Much kudos to Doozer too for daring to share the fact that he is a reigning Air Guitar Champion…not sure if that kind of information should be kept private though.
Next up came The Big. Their appearance was the main reason for me attending this gig as I’ve been a fan since I first saw them at the Drum & Monkey a few years back. Quite simply they rocked the joint, got everyone dancing and played a fine mix of ska and reggae.
Depending on availability they have 1, 2 or 3 horn players, on this occasion they only had the 1 saxophone but given the lack of space it probably worked out for the best.
Lead singer / guitarist Ed is a blinding front man…incredibly tall and imposing but damn funny with it. Throughout, he is cracking gags and even manages to get amongst the crowd during a couple of numbers.
As ever their unique Southend humour comes through in the classic tunes Essex Wanker and encore number She’s A Cunt, admittedly not very subtle but always a laugh especially when you see the reaction of people who have never witnessed the band before.
Time flies and before you know it the sets over and the crowd subsides a little to prepare for the Ballistics. I think the Ballistics did the right thing by disappearing from the scene for a short while. They had been very visible in the last year or so and were in danger of playing the same venues too much.
By stepping back to finish their CD it’s given everyone a chance to miss them and consequently welcome them back as was very evident on Saturday. Looking resplendent in matching snappy suits, collars and ties they launched into a mix of oldies and newies and, as is the norm, it wasn’t too long before drummer Steve abandoned the suit to be replaced by sequinned thong and fishnets.
For the uninitiated this must have been a truly scary sight but to the rest of us it wasn’t totally unexpected. All the crowd favourites were played including Too Scared To Dance and Glenn seemed on fine form, gracing the stage in his customary gentlemen’s bowler hat and umbrella.
As an aside you can never have too much metal permeating any show and the continued presence of Mike’s Flying ‘V’ bass is always good to see.
By this stage I was starting to flag a little so retired to the comfort of the pool table area to chat with Rikki Flag who was doing a sterling job offloading the box full of Ballistics CD’s he was charged with selling.
It was still very obvious though that everyone had enjoyed a great nights entertainment so thanks go to all 3 bands for some cracking sets and to the organisers for putting together a solid bill that was worth every penny of the 3 quid entrance fee.
Last Updated on March 4, 2023
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