Faced with the odd oxymoron of nostalgic punk, Getintothis’ Shaun Ponsonby heads to The Magnet to see the past, present and future of the genre before his eyes.
Punk nostalgia is an odd thing, isn’t it? There’s something very un-punk about it, like admitting that “classic punk” is now dad rock. The Vibrators rolling into town being a case in point.
Opening up tonight, though, are a trio of Liverpool-based bands very much in the now. I was told Dead Houses used to be called The Temps, which made me hope that Motown group The Temptations had left their My Girl days behind and made the inevitable leap to punk rock.
Alas, this was not the case. But this being their first gig since the name change and a lengthy sabbatical didn’t show. In fact, they were solid, and they gots a damned charismatic frontman. They also seemed to bring the biggest crowd with them.
The real punk spirit, though, was brought by Queen Zee and the Sasstones. Even during their line check, there was a different atmosphere coming from the stage. As soon as Zee stepped out for the set decked out with a look that goes beyond androgyny, you knew this was going to shake things up. The great bands always leave people bemused in the beginning. Some of the older fans in the audience seemed to feel that way. But make no mistake, the spirit of the New York Dolls is alive and well and living in the Sasstones, with added purpose.
In contrast, Super Fast Girlie Show were significantly more straight forward and pulled in a strong set, even if they didn’t quite live up to their name in the way that Queen Zee and the Sasstones did.
Finally, when The Vibrators appeared, the older geezers sat at the back moved forward and filled out the space on the floor a little more. They were pretty much how you would imagine a 40-year old punk band would be, and gave their audience exactly what they wanted, even if they didn’t necessarily inspire anything in the way that they would have 38 years ago.
All of which means it was an interesting night, one where you could quite clearly pinpoint punk’s past, present and future. No points for guessing who goes in which category.
Pictures by Getintothis’ Brian Sayle