Chaplin’s Cellar Bar, Boscombe

Wonk Unit

It’s Friday night in Boscombe and there’s a buzz around town for tonight’s gig. London “Punks” Wonk Unit have travelled South for an intimate show at The Cellar, ably supported by local faves The Sporadics and Kent’s The Commited.

At around 9.10 The Commited jockey for limited space on this small stage. What they deliver however is a brutal assault on the eardrums. An “old skool” Punk quintet, these guys play it hard ‘n fast. Angry; in yer face, direct vocals that take no prisoners; complimented by an all round wall of sound. They open with “Depression” and set out their stall early-make no mistake, these guys are the real deal. Daz (vox) has a confident delivery, with spite and anger. “Be Afraid” seems somewhat apt! “Terrorists” is “UK Subs-esque” and an early highlight as they rattle out song after song in fast and furious mode. While there is occasional banter they seem happy to just play.

The Commited

The Commited 1

The subject matter of the songs clearly harks back to their original incarnation way back when. Digger (drums) may be tucked away at the back but we have no problem hearing his pounding drumming. Some of their songs remind me of (early) Sham 69, but one could pick any of the leading lights from the 2nd wave and attribute them here. “Free Speech” has echoes of the Subs “Disease” while “Mental” is an ode to Punks, Skins, Hippies and tribes in general. They omit “Fast Lane” from the set in favour of closer “Bruised But Not Broken”‘. They garner great applause as we wait for the local “heroes” Sporadics who are up next.

Tonight’s show is a landmark gig for The Sporadics as they bid a fond farewell to departing guitarist and mainstay Andy, as he pursues pastures new. Looking at “Westbourne” (Shaun) he’s in fine fettle, handing out farewell gifts to the departing hero! They are greeted by a huge hometown crowd who are vociferous in their support. They open with “Festival 23″ and almost immediately there’s movement. It’s standing room only and tight at that.

Tonight’s setlist is chosen by Andy, which I suppose is only fair. ” DSP” follows before “Conflict” which there’s none of! “National Lies” seems somewhat apt in the current climate, while stalwart set regular “Used To Be A Punk” is a real highlight. “Sick Of It All” is great while the ever popular “Freaks” is dedicated to all of us. “Unity” is their penultimate track and while I would loved to have filmed them, the bouncer was a little officious as I perched on the stairs before being moved on mid-filming.

The Sporadics
The Sporadics 12

They end with “Love” and there’s plenty of that in the room tonight, most notably towards Andy. They leave to fantastic applause as usual and bid a fond farewell to Andy, who seems somewhat overcome with emotion. New guitarist “Nafe” has big shoes to fill so we shall look forward to the next Sporadics show.

Wonk Unit finally take to the stage around 11pm and deliver a stellar set, a best-of if you like. They open with “There’s Me” and it doesn’t take long for Alex (vox) to become chief shapeshifter (which on this tiny stage is quite some feat)!! “Donkey of The Damned” soon follows before the frankly hilarious “Nan”. Early set highlight “Kings Road Sporting Heroes” is nothing short of brilliant, delivered with spite and vitriol – it’s loud and aggressive but at the same time hits the spot. “Go Easy” induces the first mini moshpit, it’s fast and furious and really gets this now packed Cellar moving.

Wonk Unit
Wonk Unit 1234

Alex asks midset “do we have any plasterer’s in the room”? Cue “Plasterer” and some interesting moves from Alex! Pwosion (bass) and Dubs (guitar) provide the power throughout, aligned to Tom’s (drums) big hitting. Due to space conrestraints, Ed (keys) is situated near the stage on the dancefloor. This becomes an issue when one over-exuberant “mosher” takes things a little too far and flattens Ed and Keyboard. The resulting melee sees a shake of hands and the show goes on. “I Love My Nagging Wife” is another highlight in a memorable set. It’s hard not to decipher the lyrics without smiling! “Guts” and “Elbows” are decent before the excellent “Lewisham”. I take a break from the pit to hear “Bin Him” and “She Cut Her Finger”. It’s at this point the last bus is calling and I leave just as they announce “Rambo”. All in all a consummate set from a band whose stock can only be rising. Dare I say it the Cellar was far too small for a show like this. However, on the 40th Anniversary of Punk it’s good to see one of the leading lights of the London Punk scene come down South for our pleasure. Tonight was a free show for the early birds-I don’t think anyone left short changed.

The Committed
Fuck Conscription
Big Pharma
Be Afraid
Got It All Wrong
Lazy Hacks
Pride and Shame
Last Night Out
Free Speech
Dictated Life ’78
Wake Up, Get Up, Play Up
Bruised But Not Broken

The Sporadics
Festival 23
Here is The Schnews
National Lies
Used To Be a Punk
Sick of It All

Wonk Unit
There’s Me
Donkey of The Damned
Kings Road Sporting Heroes
Go Easy
Je Mappelle Alex
I Love My Nagging Wife
Bin Him



Review, Pictures and Videos by Ross A. Ferrone

Post to Twitter Post to Facebook Post to MySpace