Originally published in Beat Motel issue 9
Ah, the first gig of the New Year, and a gig in a relatively new venue for this town. The Royal Oak has hosted gigs for years now but the current landlord (Andy) really appears to have grabbed the musical bull by the horns and has given plenty of encouragement to local promoters to use his pub.
The layout is pretty good as pubs go, with the band playing at one end of the room you can easily see what’s going on with the minstrels from several raised vantage points. You can even get a clear view of the band from the bar whilst ordering a pint, now that’s class!
First up tonight was The Washouts, they play a covers set of what I think is 1980’s American hardcore punk. To be honest I don’t know the songs they’re covering and as I’ve now seen them several times it’s starting to feel like the songs they thrash out in their friendly slightly haphazard style really are of their own creation.
Damn This Town is a band I’ve been looking forward to seeing since I heard they had formed. This was based entirely on the bands the players had been in before, on one guitar there’s Lee from Tales Told in the Dark/ Killazilla and (ahem) Junk Culture, on the other guitar there’s Luke from Power/ Ghosts in the Audio. Bass duties are carried out with aplomb by Wibby from Cambridge hardcore legends The Volunteers, he was also the one time bassist of Ipswich aural violators This Mourning After.
Tub thumping in the background is Steve from Power, Tales Told In The Dark and old Ippo pop punk monkeys Minority. Sound wise I could reel off a long reference list of obscure bands, but that wouldn’t really help you get a feel for their theme, so I won’t. Instead I’ll describe them as complex but accessible power punk, with a sprinkle of metal garnished with harmonious fighting talk vocals. I was very impressed indeed, not least with Wibby’s America Depression 1930’s style government agent look. Having seen each of these band members in many different bands I’ve got to say it was clear they have each arrived at place where it all makes sense, and that’s something that was clear (and entertaining) as an onlooker.
The Waxing Captors have long held a fascination for me, from their insanely energetic beginnings as the young kids of the Ipswich scene (they were about 15 when I first saw them if memory serves) through to bona-fide agitated pop masters they’ve always impressed, and never stood still either musically of physically. Tonight was no exception, from the first chord they were all bouncing around like they were still the accidently destructive teens they used to be.
Having taken a break for several years for University it was going to be interesting to see if they still gelled as a band or whether they would be lazily plodding through the ‘hits’. The good news is that they’re unafraid to trounce the crowd with some of their older tracks, the even better news is that the new material (which made up the bulk of their set) is every bit as urgent, inventive and invasive as anything I’ve seen them come up with in the past.
I believe they’ve got a 7” record coming out on a label from Bury St.Edmunds, so Google them to find out more!
Vanilla Pod could comfortably be described as a stalwart of the UK punk scene, and tonight showed everyone why. This band plays with phenomenal confidence, whilst never veering into uncomfortable snotty or arrogant territory. It’s not so much that they know they’re good and aren’t shy about it, it’s more that they know their formula so well they can spend a bit of time endearing you to their sound with their group personality.
The banter was cheeky and friendly and everyone in room was on the same musical page throughout. A great end to what felt like a gig that will go down in local folklore as reminding us just how great this town can be.
- Andrew Culture
Last Updated on March 5, 2023
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