Anvil, Bournemouth


Way back in 1997 I went to Portsmouth Wedgewood Rooms to see Next Big Things “Symposium”, supporting them on that tour were none other than tonight’s headliners A. I didn’t know anything about them before that night but their performance left an indelible mark on me. From Jason Perry’s belch that preceded the opening lines to “Bad Idea” I was reeled in and have been a fan ever since. For 40 minutes I was blown away by their brash brand of Punk/Rock and made sure I followed their path throughout their entire career. Ok, so they split the first time around when the “hits” dried up in 2005; but their fans (myself included), never gave up hope of a reunion.

Wind the clock forward to February 2018 and they are the main support to “Hell Is For Heroes” on their 15th Anniversary “Neon Handshake LP” Tour. Now don’t get me wrong; HIFH’s are a great band, but that night at Portsmouth (Pyramids) the support act stole the show. Jason Perry has always been a confident frontman and his between-song repertoires had the crowd eating out of the palms of his hands. And not forgetting the songs – which still sounded great. A tour of the “Hi Fi Serious” LP was mentioned – when a band says “we might do this or that tour” it usually means that plans are afoot. So imagine my disappointment when the dates were announced and the nearest show is in Brighton.

Don’t get me wrong, I love A, but I was never going to travel that far having seen them ten times or more. I always wondered if they’d ever venture as far South as my home town? Imagine my delight then when I get a tip-off that they are indeed going grace a Bournemouth stage. I was sworn to secrecy by my contact (Chinners) until the show was announced. I then made sure I bought a ticket. And being “Independent Music Week” I knew it would be a club show. Even better still they announced a Matinee performance and a Question and Answer session. Well now you’re spoiling us guys. And so on the date in question, I and a hundred or so others are waiting in the bar area for our heroes to finish sound checking.

At roughly 16.30 pm we head downstairs for what turns out to be a memorable afternoon/evening’s entertainment; choc full of humour, stories, anecdotes and band history that diehard fans have come to see/hear. The band are casually chatting between mouthfuls of food – Jason exclaims “there’s a reason the Perry’s are the size we are, we’re always eating”!! Snacks consumed the band get down to fielding questions from the crowd. What comes across is how hard they worked to reach the heights they achieved, while remaining humble and grounded. This is no fairytale, this is a band who never gave up and fought to reach the goals. OK; so there were a few bits of luck on the way, but you make your own luck – and they earnt theirs.

A certain “Dougie Poynter” (McFly) has filled the enormous shoes of one “Daniel P Carter” and taken it in his stride, comfortably filling the role. He too is both humble and engaging throughout and explains “how much he loves playing with these guys”. The story of how they so nearly got dropped two album’s in, before changing the record company’s mind was a sheer joy to hear. It’s as if they were never going to just throw the towel in. The final question was a little obvious: “where did your name come from?” – Cue groans from the band before Jason responds with “what a shit question”! To save the lady in question’s blushes they did give an answer about how some band names have real meaning and depth behind them and how they (A) wanted to detach themselves from that way of thinking. And so, after a good 30 minutes, they decide to play some songs. The songs were chosen by ballot and the highest votes dictated the choices. Basically, it is a best of collection with a few lesser known/played songs. Laid back and at times comical they deliver a set with added banter and more stories.

A toilet break mid-set for Giles Perry (keys) allows Dougie (bass) to take over on keys, before all band members attempt to get behind his keyboard. On his return, 3 fifths of the band have ousted him for one song only. Only Adam Perry (drums) remains on his drum stool, which is a wise choice considering the lack of space on stage. Jason says “this is quite possibly the smallest venue we have ever played”, and who are we to argue? After an hour or so they end a great set with “Nothing”. Today’s performance, however, has been everything and more and is a great prelude to what follows in the main set. Jason tells us to “go and enjoy dinner” as we await the evenings’ performance.

Death By Shotgun
Death By Shotgun

After the matinee, I head back upstairs to chew the fat with an old gig buddy. We discuss the gig we have just witnessed and the state of the current music scene, along with our respective likes and dislikes. Another gig buddy turns up early as our anticipation for the main event grows. At around 8.20pm Luice’ take to the stage as tonight’s openers. This trio deliver a generic set of Rock standards with some Billy Duffy-esque guitar parts and occasional hints of Pearl Jam in the anthemic vocal. They have a good mix of Old Skool/Nu Skool Rock influences and play it loud, notably in the drums. “Death By Shotgun” are next up, delivering a strong set of Surf/Punk/Emo originals. They are in marked contrast to Luice – the vocals are clearer and the songs more upbeat. They deliver a hugely energetic performance with loud, direct vocals. The chiming guitars are also matched by the thudding drums. Both bands get a paltry 30-minute set but don’t waste their slot. And at around 9.30pm the headliners take to the stage.

Luice 123

With a full to brimming Anvil A take their places on this tiny stage. Selfishly I’m hoping for a best-of set – I/We are not disappointed. They open with ‘If It Aíint Broke’… and my earplugs go in – it’s deafening! Volume aside the sound is pretty good for a basement venue. Jason’s vocal is powerful, as are Adam’s drums. ‘5 in the Morning’ was a popular shout earlier on and doesn’t disappoint tonight. However, when they follow it with ‘Bad Idea’ all my dreams come true – notably when Jason points at me mid-song! He even ad-libs the lyrics in the last verse to accommodate Brexit, consummate pro that he is. “Starbucks” again is a popular choice and this crowd respond with an energetic mosh starting down the front. “Something’s Going On” is so apt tonight – putting personal bias aside I feel this show will be remembered for years to come around these parts. “No. 1” is Jason’s favourite A song, which he is quick to point out. There’s no let-up in the pit as this crowd, young and old show their appreciation. “I Love Lake Tahoe” gets the big singalong it deserves as the whole room joins in unison. “We Go The Distance”… again has a certain poignancy about it – band longevity has served A well. They end their main set with “Foghorn” and take the plaudits. With barely enough room to swing a cat they don’t so much leave the stage, more take a step to the left!


Back they come then for a four-song encore. “Old Folks” is dedicated to us and band alike, while “Pacific Ocean Blue” brings the tempo down just a little. Power is resumed with ‘Monkey Kong’ which again gets things moving, but rather unsurprisingly they save the biggie ’til last. Who could forget their one and only Top Ten Hit. “Nothing” bulldozes its way back into our senses and reminds us just how good this band were/are. The last singalong of the night nearly raises the roof. For the last time this evening the band exit the stage amidst huge applause. This show will go down as one of those moments when one looks back on standout gigs. And A reminded us tonight why we still love them after all these years. They have indeed “gone the distance”.

And lastly a word for the venue and promoter. Dom Patience is an unsung hero around these parts with a huge passion for live music. He is one of a shrinking band of promoters, not afraid to take a few risks and lose a few bob along the way. It’s his driving force and tonight he was rewarded with good numbers who sold out the main show in less than 24 hours. The Anvil was perfect for this gig and continues to deliver a wide cross-section of multi-genre shows. The ‘DIY scene’ in this town continues to thrive and with shows like this, long may that continue. Keep supporting your scene people because without you, there is no scene.

Set-List (Evening)
If It Ain’t Broke, Fix It Anyway
5 in the Morning
Bad Idea
Going Down
Something’s Going On
No. 1
I Love Lake Tahoe
The Distance

Old Folks
Pacific Ocean Blue
Monkey Kong






Words, Crap Pictures & Videos by Ross A. Ferrone
Decent Pictures by Dan O’Gara.