This is the first time we've seen Gimp Fist play in London as we normally see them playing for big crowds at Rebellion in Blackpool. For that reason, it felt odd going to see them play to a crowd of less than 1000 but being Northern sensations from Bishops Auckland it means they don't come down to the smoke too often.
We arrived in time to see all of first band, United Bottles who had come over from Belfast for this packed out show. We missed them at Rebellion this year. They were formed out of the ashes of Runnin' Riot who sadly lost lead singer Colin McQuillan just over 3 years year ago. The three other members of the band found a new singer and a new band name and are now back on the road as United Bottles.
They opened with a song about home town Belfast that sounded like a cross between Motorhead and Stiff Little Fingers and got everyone moving towards the stage pretty quickly.
Next up, I guess, was Ghosts Along The Gangland that had more of that Motorhead style riffage and lyrics about how someone's lifestyle will get him in the end. I have the next song down as Haunt You and it was the first one to add the band's other musical twist to the mix of making serious street punk with a slight power pop edge to it.
They had a cool call to arms for a working class revolution as they urged us all to rise up against the idiots in power. They then had a go at the DUP for obvious reasons before Truth Will Out which featured strong backing vocals and a good driving riff to get everyone going.
The next song was about Colin I guess as it was about making sure you keep on going no matter what and don't let the system bring you down. The power pop edge was to the front on a song about coming home and the slightly grizzled vocals worked nicely on the song about This Is My Day.
They then did the band's theme song, United Bottles.It sounded great and had a good sing along element to it. They closed with great version of Runnin' Riot's classic Alcoholic Heroes to leave most of us with smiles on our faces.
Next on were Watford skins The Angry Agenda who were a lot of fun last time we saw them at Rebellion. Ditto this time and no matter how many times singer Nick told us he was Fucked they sounded pretty good throughout. They opened with what I guess was They Say, which listed all the things that they are rebelling against, mainly being a good little drone.
Here Comes Trouble nailed the band's attitude and got a good sing along going with plenty of fists in the air. This Is Us This Is It was no nonsense urgent punk that made sure we knew which side of the street they stood on. The song they introduced as I've Got Aggravation was a good slice of aggro oi punk that sounds like it should be a terrace chant.
They then went full on Fake news on us on Bootboy Till I Die as no matter how much Nick has a bootboy tattoo on his chest when you're singing about always wearing your Doc Martins and having your braces on it helps to be wearing some rather than the addidas trainers he was sporting like he wanted to be in Run DMC or something. No matter, everyone sang along and it got the mosh pit going a bit too.
Still he'll no doubt want a Confrontation with this long haired hippie reviewer for calling him out, but Confrontation sounded properly angry and had some biting social commentary as did Society which came up next.
Then it was time for some proper chest-beating on What Have They Done To Our England as they lament the passing of the days when you could sit in Cassiobury Park all day with a 3 litre bottle of White Lightning and a bag of Glue watching the miniature railway and no one would give a damn. Though it might also be about more serious issues than that.
Us and Them is about the gulf between the rich haves and the rest of us struggling to get by. Soon enough they were evoking the current austerity in Breadline Britain and calling on us to help make things better if we can. They then played what was about the 4th or 5th last song of the set which was a new one called We Shall Prevail which featured good chant along lyrics about fighting to make things fairer and better for all.
They actually finished with The Brawler which is a perfect slice of aggro punk in search of a punching fist or two to keep everyone pumped and ready to rumble.
Then it was time for Gimp Fist. This trio have always been blinding when we've seen them at Rebellion and this show was no exception. My notes make the opening song into a mystery that might have been First In Line but might not? Not to worry,they sounded good and the crowd were up for it as we all found Common Ground in having a good time with Gimp Fist.
On and On doesn't in fact go on and on but is a good short sharp shock of a song about the need to keep on going. War On The Streets keeps getting more relevant as time passes and we need to find solutions to our society's problems. I'm guessing the next song was called The Voice Of The Streets, but it kept up the invective up about helping the working classes to improve things.
Of course they feel like they are on the Outside Looking In as everyone sings along and has a good time listening to the message. I think Your Time Has Come was next for the 100 miles a minute style they have going on.
A Country Divided was - as ever - a real highlight and sing along as they sing about the divide between the haves and have nots and how the gulf between them keeps growing. They then did there cover of Swedish band Perkele's Heart Full Of Pride and I'll admit I didn't realise it was a cover version as they have totally made the song there own and it's a real fan favourite to boot.
Whose Side Are You On was next and sounded as great and sing along as ever. They then played a new song introduced as Gates to Hell that sounded pretty damn good to my ears too. No idea what the next song was called but did it matter as we were all having a damn good time by this point.
They dedicated On The Beach to Mickey Fitz and it's their anthem about seeing skinheads taking over Blackpool during Rebellion. They then sang about the band's dead end hometown on This Town before playing new single Never Let Go: another one that went down a treat.
Just Another Country has the right sort of message about our current strife to go down a storm before they closed with Pick Up the Pieces - one last sing-along to make sure we all wanted more.
They came back for an encore, kicking into the totally anthemic Here I Stand, which of course had everyone singing along one last time before they said good night. I look forward to seeing all 3 bands again at Rebellion next year with a bit of luck.