1865, Southampton

UK Subs

Tonight’s show at Southampton’s 1865 venue is an Anniversary gig for one of Punk’s elder statesmen, the hardest working band in the scene the UK Subs. Yep, it’s been 40 years since they entered the albums charts with their debut LP “Another Kind of Blues”. And tonight we get to hear the album in its entirety.

As is the norm with South Coast Punk gigs the neighboring cities provide the support. From just down the road (Bournemouth) come openers Kill the Colossi. They are growing in confidence after the release of their excellent debut Herd Mentality and waste no time in announcing themselves. They open with “On Trial” and half way thru’ Adam (l.vox/guitar) f*ck’s up the vocal, much the Rowan (bass/vox) amusement. It’s a brief glitch and nobody noticed! The excellent “196 Walls” follows as they begin to hit their stride. Talking of hitting, Steve (drums) is thumping the skins with vigour this evening – I expected nothing less! “Another Bad Day” ramps it up and they build in confidence as this crowd grows. Adam attempts some between-song banter, the reaction would suggest a tough crowd to please are in tonight; but he continues undeterred. “Herd Mentality” precedes the live favourite “Shotgun Shelly”, a song written about a (not so) fine figure of a lady from Boscombe. Again Adam attempts to get the singalongs going, with some success. New track “Detonator” is excellent and not out of place in the set but due to Adam’s waffle their set is trimmed leaving them time for one more song only. Adam announces “Outsiders” then promptly plays “F*ck The Taxman”, which was always gonna be a winner. All in all a confident opening set, bigger shows I’m sure aren’t far away.

Kill The Colossi
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Next up are Pompey quartet Acid Attack. With nothing to go on but a quick flick thru’ facebook prior to their appearance I get near the front for their performance. They open in an uncompromising way with an instrumental opener  which builds the mood, before their singer slowly paces onstage; grabs the mic and gives it to us full throttle. They open with “Alone Inside” and “Jacko” (vox) starts to cavort and sing in unison. In the engine room Dave (drums) has a simple yet effect way of drumming. It’s more akin to a Post/Punk sound but perfectly complements their all-round sound. Mick’s throbbing bass broods in the background almost throughout as he barely moves, head down in concentration. “Collapse of The System” follows and Jacko is in full flow, using every inch of the stage.

Acid Attack
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Their sound is somewhere in the 3rd wave, but they are unlike any one band I can think of – which I suppose sets them apart from the crowd. Jacko gives a passionate rant about the local scene coming together for the greater good of the venue and Punk shows. They then launch into “Nothing Doing”. Andy’s guitar work is precise throughout and he is confidence personified, looking up briefly on occasions to acknowledge this crowd. “Me” precedes the interestingly titled “Animal Sound” which gives rise to Jacko’s humorous side. But they save the best till last with “Suburbia’s Dream”, complete with a storytelling intro before exploding into life. They take generous applause as they exit the stage – once again Jacko thanks the bands, the punters & the venue. So much love in the room.

And so to the headliners. For me, it’s a sign of a great band who bother to watch the supports. Jamie (Oliver) and Charlie (Harper) can clearly be seen down the front watching Acid Attack, Charlie sporting a “Knock Off” T-shirt – (it’s a Punk love-in)!! At 9.45pm the Subs stride onstage to deliver “Another Kind Of Blues” as we all step back in time 40 years. It’s great to hear these songs once more and tonight the sound is pitched just perfect – loud and clear but not deafening. A decent number have turned out in this mid-sized venue and there’s a buzz in the room early on. And so they begin with “C.I.D.”. It’s a great start before Charlie has a rare vocal mishap during “I Couldn’t Be You” allowing Steve (Guitar) his 15 seconds of fame with vocal duties. We forgive him and few really noticed! “I Live In A Car” brings out an over-exuberance in two punters in the crowd, who promptly shower those around them in beer! And this is the cue for one or two more to join the throng during “Tomorrow’s Girls”. All the songs are played in running order and it’s refreshing to hear songs like “Killer” and “World War” live again. “Rockers” is delivered at a furious pace, Charlie fuelling himself with another can of beer. That rarity “I.O.D.” sounds great tonight as they breeze into side two (for the vinyl junkies among us).

UK Subs
UK Subs 12

There’s no let up in the power as they ease through “TV Blues” and “Blues” before another crowd fave “Lady Esquire” sees a rarity at a Subs show these days – a crowd surfer! “All I Wanna Know” precedes a big singalong of “Crash Course’. And at this point, it just gets faster. They speed through “Young Criminals” and “B.1.C”, before a terrificly fast “Disease”. And last but not least the singalong of all singalong’s “Stranglehold”. Once again the Subs deliver at breakneck speed the album that officially launched them. Despite many line-up changes they have settled on a firm line-up in recent years with Steve (Straughan) comfortably replacing predecessor Jet. With the set only taking 40 minutes they unleash some other highlights from the back catalogue, starting with “Emotional Blackmail” and “You Don’t Belong”. The former sees some ferocious hitting from Jamie while Steve is chief shapeshifter. An excellent “Party In Paris” gets another outing tonight while live fave “Riot” is as popular as ever. I genuinely hope “Brand New Age” is toured in the same way sometime soon, but one imagine’s we all have a favourite album we’d love them to tour. You have to admire Charlie’s determination to keep playing live in his (say it quietly) 75th year. But the Subs as a live proposition are up there with the best for their output and longevity. This won’t be the last time we see them down South I’m sure, and for as long as there’s an audience I’m positive they’ll return to these parts in the not too distant future.

Kill The Colossi;
On Trial
196 Walls
Another Bad Day
The Alarm
For Honour
Herd Mentality
Shotgun Shelly
Better The Devil You Know
Fuck The Tax Man

Acid Attack;
Acid Attack
Alone Inside
Collapse of The System
Nothing Doing
Animal Sound
Suburbia’s Dream

UK Subs;
I Couldn’t Be You
I Live In A Car
Tomorrow’s Girls
World War
TV Blues
Lady Esquire
All I Wanna Know
Crash Course
Young Criminals

(in no particular order)
Emotional Blackmail
You Don’t Belong
Party in Paris






Words, Dubious Pictures & Videos by Ross A Ferrone.

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