As this line up was months in advance of the show I know several were disappointed to see White Trash fall off the bill but they were replaced with the maverick that is Bruno & the Outrageous Methods Of Presentation (to give him his full title) this local lad is pushing the boundaries of punk / art/ audio interference call it what you like its often in incoherent racket but to be fair its engaging and as Bruno marches out into the audience and barks the lyrics into the faces of the unsuspecting audience its engaging and you can’t ignore him and what it is he does. As for the names of the songs I couldn’t telly you and half the time I doubt Bruno could either. Enjoyable? Of course it was he was only on stage (in the loosest terms) for a short period and in that time he sounded like a youthful Jilted John (same barber) , Early Stooges and bands like ex ray Spex gone loco jamming on Suicide as a band with no synths in sight just a fistful of 70s garage riffs. Basic and primal you should all go see Bruno.
Next up and it was the turn of the highly rated much anticipated Yorkshire men that are Cyanide Pills. First up I’d like to declare my admiration for this band by stating on the record that they’ve never ever written a bad song but they have written some of the brightest bestust power pop punk rock tunes and some of the finest lyrics ever in punk rock not just recently but ever! there I’ve said it. With the results leaving the four of us Welsh tourists venturing across the Severn with our tits on the deck after the last evenings political catastrophic shit shower we decided only rock and Roll could save us and there was nowhere I’d rather be than in the Louisiana tonight turning my frown upside down and trying to stay positive with some of the fiest bands the UK has to offer.
Right, Cyanide Pills entertain me, pretty please. As if I needed to ask. Right from the top they proceeded to knock out top tune after top tune and then for good measure they dispatch another. With songs pulled from all their albums, its without pause mind, and tonight they were on fire. What you get is some absolutely on point punk rock n roll with some of the best power pop melodies and harmonies ever written. Its power pop with snot , full of clever and intelligent social observational lyrics that are nothing short of genius, I kid you not. With stand in bassist BB Quattro fitting right in they kicked off with ‘Wrong’ and never looked back. You know the drill its one bosh two bosh three bosh and so on. Theres no time for chatter its on with the relentless entertainment. ‘up Against The Wall’ seems apt for last nights Election victors. Anyway mustn’t dwell it ‘Mail Order Brides’.
If I had to pick a favourite album I couldn’t but I can pick my favourite tunes and one of them is ‘Dance With You’ and ‘Sliced And Diced’ opens with the epic ‘I Don’t Remember’ and when they chimed up with that this was turning out to be the ultimate post election tonic. They were thundering through the set plucking tunes for all three albums unable to stand still to enable us to snap many decent pics but fuck it ‘Alone tonight’ tips the hat to the Ramones (of course it does). A lot of bands like to meander their way to the high point of the set before attempting to go out in flames but Cyanide Pills just start high and aim higher coz simply they have the tunes to do it but by the time ‘Can’t Get It up’ rips through the speakers you wonder how they can top it and then ‘Johnny Thunders Lived In Leeds’ struts in like a punk rock peacock (no Leeds pun left unturned) I was going to avoid punctuation and gaps between the words and just blast through (much like the band), I do wonder how they manage to grab a breath between songs and what would happen if they broke a string? it would be carnage. Did they play ‘Apathy’? of course they did. ‘Still Bored’, ‘Government’ then ‘Suicide Bomber’ and we’re done. Fan-fuckin-tastic! just what the doctor ordered yet again a suitably smashing set from the best punk rock n rollers anywhere great tunes, great lyrics and great entertainment – follow that!
Duncan Reid & The Big Heads do follow that and with consummate ease. They’re not the competition but equals and whilst Duncan writes fantastic power pop the dynamics and the sound are poles apart but has the same DNA and another thing they share is they all have tunes! Kicking off with ‘Can’t Stop’ off ‘Bombs Away’ Duncan commands his big heads and rises to the occasion and the gauntlet laid down by the opening bands. With a new album in the bag Duncan is buoyed and after a quick romp through ‘Soda Pressing’ its a glimpse into the new album with ‘Welcome To My World’. Now it’s fair to say he’s been at this for a number of years and has seen a thing or two and happened to work with some exceptional songwriters in his time and that time wasn’t wasted as the band take care of the exceptional ‘Lets Skip To The Good Bit’ then its an introduction to some new tunes and one in particular politely entitled ‘Motherfucker’ about a certain Tory politician we are all familiar with that goes down rather well and whets the appetite for the new album.
This line up of Big Heads Duncan has assembled have worked really well together and playing more and more shows is paying dividends and Nicks backing vocals on ‘Rolling On’ sound great much like the chemistry between the band as well. the minutes are flying by and from ‘Bombs Away’ through ‘Kelly’s Gone Insane’ this is proving to be an immense nights entertainment. the room is jumping by the time ‘C’mon Josephine’ pipes up and the final new song ‘Better Get Them In’ is dispatched. With the clock ticking there’s time for a doff of the cap to previous employers as Nick gets the punters involved on the classic ‘Brickfield Nights’ followed by some high praise for the wonderful songwriting of Honest John Plain from his old pal as ‘Terminal Love’ leaves just one song left before we all have to steal away onto the cold Bristolian cobbles and back home. The inimitable Mr Reid leaves us for ‘The Last Time’ tonight (other than to run his merch table) after another faultless performance of great songs that fly’s by The curtain falls on 2019s live gigs for me as I try to take it all in and what a way to end the decade with a punk rock n roll show thats up there with the best of them in fact it is the best of them. Variety, consistency, smiling faces, great tunes what more could you ask for of a gig night? If in 2020 you get the chance to witness Cyanide Pills and / or Duncan Reid & The Big Heads don’t hesitate or procrastinate just buy your bloody ticket it’ll be a memorable nights entertainment that much is a given. Brilliant as expected – always a pleasure and never a chore.
Author: Dom Daley