The Anvil, Bournemouth


It’s the Bank Holiday in sunny Bournemouth and the local Ska/Punk fraternity are out in force at The Anvil to see Spunge. A full house awaits the band, and are entertained by a three band supporting cast.

First on are local, one time Pop/Punkers Escape From ’98. I say “one time” – their overall sound is somewhat bigger these days and I can safely say they are just Punkers! They open with an intro track then proceed at 90mph to hit us with a set of speedball Punk songs. “Chick Flick” keeps the Yank Punk influence while “Rat Race” sees them really open up. We get their trademark humour and between song banter-would we expect anything less?! Lee (bass/vox) is chief orator, swapping insults with Lennon (guitar) and James (guitar) respectively, but it’s all good clean fun. Some of the older songs (“Chorus” and “Ben’s Mum”) are aired alongside newer material. These guys know their crowd and deliver in fine form. Ferocious hitting (Danny), big riffs and strong, confident vocals throughout make this a great set. They depart unsurprisingly on “EF98” to great applause and we look forward to their next gig.

Escapefrom '98
Escapefrom ’98 12

Next up are another local Punk act, The Crash Landings. Having seen this band a few times now I have witnessed a steady rise in their confidence and output. They open with “Fear” and straight away I detect an angst in Si’s vocal tonight. Swiftly following with the frankly hilarious “Billy Has Tourette’s” they take their sound up a notch. “Colour of The Collar” sees Si deliver a much more gravelly vocal which remains the entire set – he seems to be “putting it all out there” tonight. And not just the vocals – the booming bass from Seb is matched by the hard, heavy hitting from Neil. Not forgetting Ant (guitar), who my photographer comments wouldn’t look out of place in a Metal band! True but equally adept in this Punk band.

The Crash Landings
The Crash Landings 12

On “Tear It Down” and “Overdose” that vocal becomes snarly and aggressive in places, but it suits the overall sound tonight. Old favourite “Results” is followed by “The Wall”, before they depart with 3 anthemic bursts. “Hatemail” is delivered with the usual gusto and as is the norm Si gives a shout out to all and sundry-soundman, staff, bands, journo’s etc. “Fallin” follows before set highlight and closer “Prozac Empire”. Si’s antics at the end are Jimmy Pursey-esque and this crowd lap it up – as Si just milks it. Tonight The Crash Landings are altogether bigger, harder, tighter and better. I expected nothing less!

Main tour support Slagerij are new to me, but leave an indelible mark. They are a powerful Ska/Punk act from Swindon and get this crowd jumping from the outset. They open with ‘Set It Off’ which they quite literally do! “All Night Long” follows and on this evidence stamina is not an issue – this band are hugely energetic. However, one observation stays in my mind – they achieve a whole new level in gurning, most notably from Matt (bass). His posturing and shapeshifting are also a sight to behold while he bludgeons us with his bass. “Off On a Mission” sees huge crowd interaction while “What’s Your Fantasy” sees the first big “Skank-off”. “Girls Got Rhythm” is a set highlight before the Less Than Jake-esque “I Fucked Up”. Janek (drums) seems to be hitting the snare harder with every song while Martin (guitar/vox) is using every inch of tiny space he has around him. They end with “Can’t Stop A Nation” and I guess gain many new fans. They leave to long, loud applause.

Slagerij 12

And so to the headliners. It’s been nearly 10 years since I attended a Spunge show, just down the road at Sound Circus. I come along purely on the strength that this band always give a good account of themselves. Tonight however it is a rare exception – they aren’t just good, they’re great. With a sold out Anvil bursting at the seams these 4 guys take to the stage. They open with “Some Suck, Some Rock”. Almost immediately the whole room is jumping. It’s appropriate really because ‘Jump on Demand’ quickly follows and this frenzied crowd need no encouragement. Alex (vox) is energetic from the off and grinning like the proverbial feline! Every now and then a show just explodes with energy and he just knows we’re on it in Bournemouth tonight.

Second cover of the evening is one Elvis Costello’s finest hour “Oliver’s Army”. Close to the original but unique enough to make it their own they Skank it up somewhat. ‘Never Grow Old’ follows and looking around me tonight clearly their audience have no intention doing so! As everyone has their “dancing shoes” on we are encouraged to get skanking to “Skanking Song”. Alex is still grinning and enjoying every minute of it. One has to admire the energy of this band; playing in a claustrophobic room on a boiling hot Bank Holiday weekend, there’s no let-up in their output. Jem (drums) continually provides the power throughout while Jarvis (guitar) is chief joker and mischief maker-the guys are still at their humorous best when making digs at each other whilst bantering with this crowd. Des (lead guitar) seems to be the butt of the banter tonight, yet non-coherently carries on playing throughout.

Spunge 12345

“Girls” provides the first singalong and yet still, this packed room is jumping. In fact, any Spunge purists are well catered for as it’s basically another best-of set. The singalongs continue throughout, most notably on “Ego” and “Change of Scene”. “One More Go” even finds me in good voice but I gotta say it’s their most talked about song I’m looking forward to. And with that; with 4 songs to go, Alex attempts to get a conga going. Lunacy ensues as the crowd start conga-ing up the stairs to “Kicking Pigeons” – the remainder downstairs find their feet and skank away with energy. Spunge are quite simply on it during their last 4 songs. “Nothing at All” is merely a warm-up for set closer (and cover), the J Geils Band classic “Centrefold”. Everyone in the room knows it and is singing along.

A great end to a truly remarkable show. One cannot keep a good band down and these guys are clearly here for the long-haul. An exhaustive 15 date (back to back) tour schedule hasn’t dampened their enthusiasm for the live arena and they return for a one song encore. Their own re-written cover of Marley’s ‘No Woman, No Cry’ is the perfect outro. Once again the whole room sings in unison and we bid Spunge a fond farewell until next time. We know they’ll be back – it’s not so much if, but when?! And while I don’t wish to criticise the Anvil, Spunge should be playing a bigger room/venue. Then again, these intimate shows rarely disappoint and tonight was no exception.

Some Suck, Some Rock
Jump on Demand
Oliver’s Army (Elvis Costello & The Attractions)
Never Grow Old
Skanking Song
Pirate Song
Lyrical Content
Change of Scene
Gavva Wownd
One More Go
Hang On
Kicking Pidgeons
Nothing at All
Centerfold (J Geils Band)
No Woman No Cry(Bob Marley)/So Lonely (The Police)

Set it Off
All Night Long
You Can’t Rely
Off On a Mission
What’s Your Fantasy
Girls Got Rhythm
I Fucked Up
Don’t Give Up
Call Me an Optimistic FoolÖPessimist
Can’t Stop a Nation

The Crash Landings
Billy Has Tourette’s
Colour of the Collar
Tear it Down
The Wall
Prozac Empire

Chick Flick
Rat Race
Dead will Walk
Wrong Side
One Note Solo
Ben’s Mum
Don’t worry don’t sweat it



Words by Ross A Ferrone.
Pictures & Videos by Chinners.

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