“What would you like for your fifth birthday?” “Can I have some punk, some progish rock, some 1950’s rock ‘n’ roll and some new wave-y punk? Oh and can we have it all in a brewery?” The I’m Not From London night “Piss Up In A Brewery” reaches its 5th event at the Black Iris Brewery, it got everything it wanted for its birthday and it was a belter.
Opening the night are Diablofurs, featuring a masked singer and a bassist who pulls all of the shapes. They have clearly spent a lot of time listening to the New York Dolls and the Ramones. Songs such as opener Who Are The Mystery Girls? wouldn’t feel out of place at CBGB’s in the 1970s. Much like the Ramones, most of their choruses consist of singing the song title four times and they have one song, Running Back, which comes very close to the bruddas’ mix of punk and bubble-gum pop. As if to highlight the song’s poppy nature, the drummer even brings out a pair of light-up drumsticks. A brilliant set was only slightly let down by the closing song, a track called Rock ‘n’ Roll Ain’t What It Used To Be, in which I got the impression that the band didn’t see the irony.
Second band, the three-piece Lunadogs, are more like one of those bands that were washed away by the appearance of punk. There is the odd nod to OK Computer-era Radiohead but it’s all very mid-70’s pre-punk rock – noodling guitar solos and an electric double bass. The lack of keyboards and wizard capes mean that it doesn’t quite become full-blown prog rock but there are some pretty jazzy time signatures going on there. At one point the bassist even brings out a bow to play his bass with (unsurprisingly, I didn’t see any members of Diablofurs at the front for this set) More strangely, there’s a song where the singer sounds a bit like Mark Morriss out of the Bluetones but he’s singing, “I need some morphine”, which is a very odd juxtaposition.
Next up is another three-piece, Lucille. Now, I don’t like to make assumptions based on band names or their appearance. But when a group is named after a Little Richard song and you see the bassist lugging a proper double bass onto the stage, you can’t help but presume that they might be a 1950’s style rock ‘n’ roll band. And yes, that’s exactly what they are and they are very good at it. They play a mix of their own songs and a few covers including Hound Dog and Farmer John (originally released by Don and Dewey in 1959 but brought to wider attention by The Premier’s garage rock version 5 years later) They are one of those bands that you can’t help but have a little boogie to and in front of me even the guy in the Black Sabbath jacket was dancing along.
Finally, we get to the headliners Nervous Twitch, and for those who have enjoyed the notes on bass guitars above, they favour the Danelectro Longhorn. Here are another band clearly influenced by the Ramones, going straight from one song to the next with minimal chat or pause in between. Sound-wise they are on the cusp between punk, new wave and pop, although like the Ramones, there are also hints of surf rock and at one point they play an instrumental that wouldn’t sound out of place on the west coast. The closest description that I could come up with is that they are like the illegitimate love-child of the 5, 6, 7, 8s and Martha & the Muffins. Nervous Twitch are a brilliant band and a perfect end to a great night. They play rock ‘n’ roll with great energy and it’s the sort of music that it’s impossible not to smile at.
So, another absolutely top night down at the Black Iris brewery. Also worth mentioning were Stiff Kittens, who DJ’d in between the bands, playing a great mix of old-school punk rock and some more modern garage rock. Plus the excellent beers including Buzz Kill, an 8.3% Belgian Tripel. Great music and great beer in a great venue, not a bad way to spend a Saturday night.
Piss Up In A Brewery returns to the Black Iris brewery on the 17th of September where Grey Hairs will be headlining. For more details check out the I’m Not From London website: http://www.imnotfromlondon.com/
Words and photos by Gav Squires