New Cross Inn, London

Peter & The Test Tube Babies

On a cold Winters night & a rare jaunt to London (for me), I arrive just as Londoners “The Tang” are soundchecking. A confident 4 piece they open proceedings shortly after and continue with a great set of original material.

It’s straight up Old Skool 1st Generation Punk at its finest. Julio (vox/guitar) is confident in delivery while engaging in regular between song banter, while Mike (lead/backing vox) supplies the “woah woah’s”. Richey (bass/backing vox) shoegazes most of the set while Kev (drums) drives the power with some frenetic and powerful stickmanship! For a band who only formed some 9 months previously they are pretty tight and show no sign of nerves. They end their set whereupon Julio decides to explain the origin of their moniker-The Tang (as in “Poon Tang”)! They leave to generous applause. I ask for a setlist but am told there isn’t one,”we just make it up as we go along” – well it works!

The Tang

The Tang 1

Next up are Hardcore Punks The Vile. Lead singer Rat (Discharge) needs no introduction and wastes no time in opening their set. The open with “Desensitised To It All” and it’s at this point we know we’re in for a loud performance. Rat asks the crowd if they’ve ever been “nicked”? Bassist Sean says yeah and smiles as they launch into “Busted Again”. It’s loud,brash and the sound of 5 angry men. On “Scars Run Deep” Rat really unleashes anger in his voice which remains for the rest of the set. “Terror” is a set highlight and they throw in an angry version of Sex Pistols “Belsen Was A Gas” to loud applause. The Vile make a big noise,not least on Ben’s drums-another display of sheer power. They end on a high with “Fear of Truth” and also leave to generous applause.

The Vile

The Vile 12

Next up are 23 piece Ukulele ensemble The Pukes. What comes next is pure entertainment! Picture if you will, a band made up almost entirely of females on ukuleles and 3 guys on bass, drums, and guitar respectively. After a protracted sound check they deliver a comedic set of mostly Punk Covers to an audience happy to singalong. “A Message To You Rudy”, “White Riot”, “Jet Boy Jet Girl”, “Sheena Is A Punk Rocker”, it’s a Punks dream setlist. It’s hard not to notice how everyone is smiling and singing along. The finale however is quite something. A medley of Exploited songs starting with “Sex and Violence”, incorporating “Dead Cities” and “Alternatives” before returning to “Sex and Violence”. There really is nothing to dislike about The Pukes-they deliver a set chock full of humour and singalongs. They leave the stage to long,loud applause.

The Pukes

The Pukes 123

And so to the headliners. Peter and The Test Tube Babies need no introduction. Stalwarts of the 80’s Punk generation they take to the stage. Peter (vox) is grinning and we know we’re in for one hell of a show! They open with “Moped Lads” before a massive moshpit starts. It’s pretty wild but friendly. “Run Like Hell” follows before the excellent “Jinx”. It’s a cold night in London and Del (guitar) is sporting a fetching hat, which he soon dispenses with such is the heat building up in the venue. “Unlucky Day” is dedicated to the married among us while Dave (Drums) shows the “(Spirit of) Keith Moon” with a display of raw power. “Keep Britain Untidy” is a highlight, as is the rather apt “Maniac” looking at the crowd reaction! They end on live favourites “Banned From The Pubs” and “Blown Out Again”. That appears to be it but after a good 5 minute break they return with a couple of “choice” numbers. Abba’s “Mamma Mia” gets the Test Tube treatment. Peter suggests “pay us more or there’ll be more Abba!” Cue Dave-Abba,Abba,Abba,Abba….. as they move to SOS! A Prog Rock cover whose title escapes me follows before they leave us again. Amazingly they return for a 2nd encore before leaving to loud vociferous applause which they rightly deserve. On this evidence Punk is alive and well,and long may that continue!

The Vile
Disensitised To It All
Busted Again
Scars Run Deep
Dogs Will Hunt
It Is What It Is
Belsen Was A Gas (cover)
Fear Of The Truth

The Pukes
White Riot
Jet Boy,Jet Girl
Sheena Is A Punk Rocker
A Message To You Rudy
Sex And Violence
Dead Cities
Sex And Violence

Peter And The Test Tube Babies
Moped Lads
Run Like Hell
Never Made It
Unlucky Day
Up Yer Bum
(Spirit Of) Keith Moon
Keep Britain Untidy
Shake My World
Banned From The Pubs
Blown Out Again

Mamma Mia/SOS (Abba covers)
“unknown Prog cover”


Words & Picture By Ross A. “No middle 8’s here, move along” Ferrone.

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