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Review: 'Pussycat & The Dirty Johnsons, Guitar Gangster'
'and PollyPikPocketz Live at Shake Some Acton'   

-  Album: 'At West Hampstead Arts Club.'
-  Genre: 'Punk/New Wave' -  Release Date: '20.5.23.'

Our Rating:
This was a Shake Some Acton night at our new favorite local venue, just 15 minutes' walk from home to go and see a great line-up like this one down in a small basement perfect for garage rock.

We arrived in time to see PollyPikPocketz who are a 4-piece day-glo garage punk band who at this gig never seemed to get the bands sound right at any point sadly. I'm guessing at the song titles as it was rare for the vocals to sound clear or loud enough to be heard over the music, they started off good and bouncy on You Can Control that has a good spiky guitar solo and frenetic drumming.

Your Just So Predictable may have had some good lyrics but it was hard to tell as the Bass players vocals could be sort of heard, he looked like he's just stepped out of a Rubella Ballet video. Perfect Crime saw Polly bouncing around a good bit as no matter what they asked the soundwoman to do with the monitor sound we could never quite hear Polly's vocals.

Keyboard Warrior was full of bile and anger and the guitarist freaked out pretty well. Right back Down kept it in the same bouncy punk pop pocket. Sick was the closest they got to having clear vocals all set with a great bassline this song stood out.

For the song Polly introduced as Fucking Bitch she also played an additional floor Tom set up on the dancefloor that added a good bit of heft to the sound that meant the vocals were even more lost. No Escape From The New World Order kept up the anger and was good and speedy, Fuck You as a line cut through a bit and had another flailing at the walls guitar solo before they closed with That's Right that really wasn't what I'd have said about this set. Sadly if they'd got the sound and vocals right this would have been a really cool set.

Next on were Guitar Gangsters who I last saw opening for Manitoba NYC at the Underworld in 2017, at that show they were a trio tonight they played as a 4 piece. They have been around since 1989 and right from the opening song United We Stand United We Fall were as tight as tight could be, you could hear all the vocals and backing vocals clearly, the improvement in the sound was startling.

Turn The Tables was taut garage rock, they flew through The Class Of 76 like proper snotty punks with super sharp riffs as the pin sharp drums beat us into submission.

50 Dangerous Things is a great list song for all the things you ought to try to survive doing. I used to Be Cool was played like the super cool power pop punk tune it is, of course the singer did claim he was still cool at the end of it, on this evidence they are all very cool indeed.

Radio Shakedown rumbled through the room like there were 4 trains going by the venues back wall at the same time. Hope & Glory has the feel of being a skinhead anthem, thankfully not dedicated to the new king. There was no fat in this set whatsoever as they flew through Fortune Favours The Brave like a bunch of true rock & roll heroes.

Don't Get Me Started may have had some moaning in the lyrics, but no one in the room was moaning about this lot as they nailed it.
Obsession would be about making sure every note you play is perfect and in this context it certainly was.

It was then time for the bands big anthem Shut Up & Get Me A Drink that was dedicated to anyone who wanted to talk politics with them, it was brilliant, we all raised our glasses to them as we sung along.

Nowhere to Nowhere was a wry look at life in a band that never quite gets the recognition it deserves that certainly applies to this lot. They closed with Undefeated and well they really stood out as a super tight band that needs to be seen live.

Headlining was Pussycat & The Dirty Johnsons who I mainly know from the EP that Puss Johnson put out as part of Satan's Cats that came out last year. For this show she was back with the trio line up of the Dirty Johnsons who appeared to have Kevin Keegan's brother on drums.

They opened with One Of The Boys and Pussycat who was obviously dressed as A Pussycat complete with Tail and her hair as Cat ears etc was sounding fierce she dueled with the other guitarist.

Some of this is guess work as they flew into Surrender My Heart a bruised rockabilly punk song with a cool dark edge to it, Everyday You Fight seemed to be about another relationship that's hit the rocks and is beyond saving.

Pussycat put her guitar down before She's An Orgasm about a real Godzilla of a woman, as Pussycat went on the prowl you couldn't take your eyes off them. Get Out Of My face was played totally in your face and certainly right in my face as Pussycat prowled the audience singing right into my face before pushing me away this was kinetic and powerful.

Doing It was like the band's mantra, whatever you do don't tell this lot you can't be a kicking psycho rock band from Basingstoke.
Orgasmic Pizza is a brilliant song title and it lived up to the name. Puss strapped her guitar back on for I Don't Matter that was nailed down and tight as can be slightly psyche punk.

What To Yell At Me was back with a single guitar as this got angrier and angrier. They then played a new song that was every bit as much fun as the rest of the set. Ain't No Pussy was brusque brutally on point rant against anyone who would doubt this lot.

They then got the whole room joining in on a brilliant version of the Beastie Boys Fight For Your Right To Party that went down a storm before they closed with Sylvia that thankfully didn't remind me of that sickly 70's song Sylvia's Mother.

They'd done more than enough to get an encore that opened with Huh! That was played with one guitar so Puss could dive off the stage and confront the audience in magnificent fashion. They closed the show with Beast Will Out that was one more garage punk classic to end the night with Puss on her knees on the dance floor howling into the floor it was a great end to a good night's music that made us all Shake Some Acton again.
  author: simonovitch

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