Sham 69, Pete Bentham and the Dinner Ladies, The Vermin Suicides: The Kazimier, Liverpool

Sham 69

Sham 69

As the Hersham punk veterans descend on The Kazimier for one of the last punk gatherings at the iconic venue, Getintothis’ Zach Jones was there to catch it all.

There’s a new kid in town, and it’s not Sham 69, they’re old as fuck. It’s Broken Bow, a brand new punk rock promoter who is already packing bills with local favourites and household names alike. Tonight is the first of two events announced, with the Buzzcocks following on November  19, also at The Kazimier. Another brilliant patch on the jacket that is Liverpool’s busy punk scene.

As the first support of the night take to the stage, The Vermin Suicides are obviously among friends. The Kazimier isn’t packed to the rafters, but for a dreary Tuesday night the venue is well and truly busy. It’s an encouraging sight as the four piece tear through a set of palatable punk rock, the band are nothing short of brilliant. They don’t need the ferocity of modern ‘hardcore’ bands, and instead throwback to the brilliant song writing of The Clash and even Sham 69 themselves.

Read our feature on The Cramps – punk’s forgotten heroes

It’s a testament to the strength of the local scene as the crowd get involved for the bamboozlement that is Pete Bentham and the Dinner Ladies. The rock n rollers turn The Kaz into one giant party, while the dinner ladies dance in the background, waving sausages and mops like some sort of North Western carnival. Fuck Rio, this is how the working class party. With lyrics concerning the drudgery of Concert Square, the obscurity of Queens Victoria’s knob, and something about a Hip Potater, Pete Bentham is well and truly one of the most under-rated artists in the city.

Sham 69 take to the stage with twice the aggression of the support, they’re a different breed. Where Pete Bentham seemed a bit miffed at the absurdity of the world, Sham 69 are furious. It’s obviously been stewing for all these years as the band rip into a set as fresh as always. Punk is one of the few genres that has remained relevant, and its strength is in its ideals. It stands for something.

It’s hard to say that about Bros or Boyzone or Wheatus or any of those bands who stood for nothing. Instead they just churned out mediocre hits, and in doing so disappeared. Sham 69 are the original deal, and the purity of the catalogue they’ve amassed remains their strength in appealing to 55 and 15 year olds alike.  It’s how they can still tour now nearly 40 years from their formation and fill the venue regardless.

Punk’s not dead, it’s just got a bad back these days.

Pictures by Getintothis’ John Johnson