Shooting Star, Southampton

Local Mad Men

Sometimes you get to hear about a gig you fancy going to and three come along at once. Having had my eardrums battered by the Wonder Stuff Thursday; and the respite of a covers band at my local on Friday, I head back along the Coast for the now monthly Punk At The Star gig. The Shooting Star to be precise is tonight playing host to three bands – one local, one semi-local and a headliner from the Smoke! There would have been a fourth band but I am reliably informed Murderers Row had “drummer issues”!

It’s sparse around 8pm but those of us who have made the effort welcome Hampshire-based quartet Second in Line onstage. To be fair we are all on the same level which gives the gig a certain intimacy. So, Second in Line announce themselves – a band who describe themselves as Melodic Skate/Punk. Well, I get the Punk (just) but it’s more akin to Thrash. Fast, furious and in-yer-face. Heavy snare and cymbal-heavy drumming matched to furious guitar thrashing and a throaty vocal. It isn’t for the faint-hearted and (IMO) is Hardcore/Punk at its core. The movie-related fun in their songs I’m sure inspired opener “Bueller”. Thankfully they are loud enough to be bearable. Mr. T. (guitar/b.vox) and Matt (bass) adopt a low slung playing style, so low in fact they are almost on the floor. “Joanie” is decent enough as is “Brewsters” as they play with more of a Yank-inspired sound towards the middle of the set. “Triple Threat” one assumes is the “three songs in 54 seconds” they mention. Their final song is their finest tonight with its feel-good Summery feel and the lyric ‘Have a Beer for Me’ which brightens the mood perfectly. They leave to good applause, not before plugging their merchandise.

Second In Line
Second In Line 12

Next up are a band that needs no introduction. Bitter Self Exploitment is causing quite a stir in the South with their energetic, no holds barred performances – and tonight is no exception. Starting with regular opener “Revolt” they set out their stall early. If you hate sprouts you’ll love this song! Spawned from their recent EP; “Lanky Jeff” is delivered with the usual angst, cussing and gusto. “Lanky Fucking Jeff”… they must really hate his height. “This is My Life” is tongue in cheek and yet another playful little ditty. “Separate Alienate” is new to me (and maybe this crowd) and the perfect prelude to the aggressive “Not Again”. Jack (bass) who has clearly enjoyed a few pre-gig drinks is aggressively shouting the chorus, bellowing above Jordan (vox). “Big Guinness Man” brings the tempo back down somewhat but there are now people dancing as Jordan beckons us forward. “Sick To Death…” returns to the fast and angry tempo yet you daren’t take your eyes off these guys for a minute, just in case some crazy behaviour ensues! And Jack doesn’t disappoint us. Taking a gulp of water he sprays the audience – it’s good-natured and all part of the performance. Nat (guitar) is trying to keep a straight face while Jordan is as energetic as ever, covering every inch of floor space. Ben (drums), tucked away at the back just keeps the beat. Jordan’s self-deprecating humour is hilarious as always, while their lyrics are on point – most notably on “Here We Go” which is dedicated to all “lads”. The second line will stay with me forever “I’ve got a massive list of Tinder shags…” priceless! They end with “Rob Thomas” and take great applause. It wonít be long before these guys are signed and it will be a travesty if they are not gracing the Introducing Stage at next year’s Rebellion Festival. Bitter Self Exploitment – remember the name, a band who make Idles look like the Bee Gees!

Bitter Self Exploitment
Bitter Self Exploitment 123456789

And so to tonight’s headliners. South East London Thrash/Punk quartet Local Mad Man take to the stage. These guys take no prisoners with their all-out assault on the eardrums. It’s loud, fast, angry and in-yer-face! Ferocious hitting from Dom (drums) keeping the beat, but for me, it’s a tad samey throughout. I don’t want to be over critical as it’s a strain of the genre I’m not totally at home with. That said I do like to be able to decipher a lyric! Their history would suggest that Thrash is more their genre, but equally, they will appeal to certain areas of the Punk fraternity. In Chris (vox) they have a shouty, intensely throaty vocalist – all those years down at The Den haven’t gone to waste! It’s hard to believe that these guys can get any faster or louder, but they do. “Gudz” (guitar) has been quite hard on himself, predicting they will empty the room (which they don’t). And a mention for “Pies” (bass) who is no less important. I neither pick up any song titles or set-lists but to be frank, they are great at what they do – it just isnít my bag.

Second in Line
Stir Crazy
Triple Threat
John Candy is Dead

Bitter Self Exploitment
Lanky Jeff
This is My Life
Separate Alienate
Not Again
Big Guinness Man
Who the Fuckn am I
Sick to Death of Being Sick to Death
Vener su Mira para Mi
Us and Them
Here We (Fucking) Go
The Ballad of Rob Thomas







Check out the last Saturday of Each Month ‘Punk at the Star’ here.

Words, Pictures & Videos by Ross A. Ferrone.