featuring No Ordinary Joe, The Rheumatics, Bitter Self Expliotment & Brash Bullets

Hobbit Pub, Southampton

One year ago, saw the loss of a local talent and former vocalist/songwriter for Brash Bullets. I first became aware of Brash Bullets when guitarist Cam approached me at a gig and we discussed our seemingly similar love of bands/gigs etc – well that and our similar height with us both being around 6’6″ inches tall! He was keen to spread the word about his fledgling band, I was happy tp promote myself as a writer/contributor for Rock Regeneration. This is how the best cross county musical friendships are formed.

When I put on an Oxjam Fundraiser a few years later I kept them in mind. Sure, enough they came down to The Anvil (Bournemouth) that night and played a blinder, while our Bournemouth crowd became aware of a song about Crocodiles! Andrew Defiant was not just a lyricist, he was a wordsmith.

Wind forward to 2022 and Andrew having moved abroad, we hear the sad news that he has passed away at the tender age of just 35. Almost a year to the day Cam has pulled together a line-up with links to Andrew, to put on this remembrance gig (of sorts) – it’s like a Cafe Reflections Reunion. The Hobbit are our host venue for the evening and No Ordinary Joe open proceedings. They play a wonderful brand of Country/Folkabilly/RnR, mixing originals with covers. They openly talk of their fondness for Andrew while their musicianship is there for all to see. “Don’t Let the Bastards Grind You Down” is an early highlight while the Matchbox hit “Rockabilly Rebel” lightens the mood early on – I hadn’t heard that for years!! They perform an interesting cover of The Clash’s “Bankrobber”, stripping it back to almost Dub and they depart on a Punk version of “Country Road”.

No Ordinary Joe
No Ordinary Joe 

Next up are Punk covers band The Rheumatics. Having only witnessed the band live once in a tiny pub in Wimborne I was hoping for the full visual and musical experience. I’m afraid the early omens are not good. A slowed down version of The Stranglers “Something Better Change” is not to my liking but I hope for better. Feeling their way in they amp it up with The Damned’s “I Feel Alright” and parity is resumed (or so I thought)? At a risk of sounding like a purist I like my Punk covers fast – that’s the point, isn’t it? So, when we get another stripped back/slowed down version of Punk Rock Royalty in the form of “Pretty Vacant” I retire to the bar. I don’t want to blame the occasion but, on another night, I might love The Rheumatics, just not tonight.

The Rheumatics
The Rheumatics 

Speaking of royalty, penultimate band tonight is none other than those energetic funsters Bitter Self Exploitment. No strangers to me or this venue, they tear it up with wild abandon. Vocalist Jordan beckons us forward with the refrain ‘move forward or we’re not going to play, I’m serious… “Don’t Wanna Pay My Bills” is the rather catchy opener and sets their stall out early. It’s another best of set – “Lanky Jeff”, “Ginger Hitler Puss”, the quite brilliant “Moustache Twat” and “Big Guinness Man” pepper a confident set from a band who seem to be in a hurry. Jack (bass) is lead shapeshifter while Jordan shares stage and crowd space. They save the best ’til last with the rabble-rousing “Here we Go” – if you’ve ever been to a BSE gig you will know this is a sure fire moshpit inducer. They take the plaudits as we await our headliners.

Bitter Self Exploitment
Bitter Self Exploitment 1234

Before Cam and the boys play, local legend Jonny Sanson (Flying Alexanders) takes to the stage to say a few words about Andrew and proceeds to read a poem he has written about him. It’s a poignant piece that promotes the feeling of defiance. Heartfelt and moving it tugs at the heartstrings and is a fitting tribute to a young life lost.

Jonny Sanson
Jonny Sanson 1

And so, to our headliners. Brash Bullets, led by the towering Cam has put this night together so I guess it’s only right that they should headline. The mic that Andrew would have used takes centre stage. They open with a mix of originals and covers, including a couple of Ramones songs where Cam declares “if it weren’t for The Ramones there’d be no Brash Bullets”. It’s easy to see where their main influence comes from with their high-octane brand of Grunge/Punk. Mid set sees BSE bassist Jack take on additional vocal duties on “I’m Not Your TV” – he looks reasonably comfortable on the mic.

Brash Bullets
Brash Bullets 1234

Other notable guest appearances come in the form of Jordan Defiant (brother of Andrew) who seamlessly takes to vocals like a duck to water. He has the same urgency and direct vocal style, coupled with energy and an angry yet controlled demeanour. Original set highlight “I Wanna Be a Crocodile” sees a flurry of inflatables arrowed across the room, but it’s all good fun. Not to be outdone, original drummer Pickles takes to the stool for the three numbers; love song “Girl Next Door”, “Glue Your Mouth Shut” and “Capital City Disappointment”. “I Wanna Be a Crocodile” played earlier in the set gets a short reprise during a one song encore, replete with various audience and band members taking to the stage for the final hurrah! But let’s not forget why we came tonight, to honour all too early passing of a young talent. RIP Andrew, your songs and lyrics will linger long in the memory – hope we did you proud tonight?!



Review by Ross A. Ferrone
Media By David Chinery (Chinners)

Brash Bullets