The RezillosAfter three long years, The Rezillos are back touring the UK, now with a new single, ‘Out Of This World’, which was released earlier this month and has already been a sensation amongst fans. Original members Eugene Reynolds, Fay Fife and drummer Angel Paterson were joined on guitar and bass by Jim Brady and Chris Agnew.

Coming on to the old Batman theme, the band played classics off their 1978 studio album, ‘Can’t Stand The Rezillos’, including ‘Flying Saucer Attack’, ‘Top Of The Pops’, ‘Cold Wars’ and ‘(My Baby Does) Good Sculptures’, which were accompanied by the wild stage shismatic antics of Eugene, Fay, and Jim; each element reacting like popping candy hitting an acidic tongue.

The new single has the same tangy, space sci-fi twang to it, and having been written by Eugene and the band’s previous guitarist, Jo Callis, in 1986, it meets expectations without creating any falseness to the modern day Rezillos experience. Two unreleased songs, ‘You’re So Deep’ and ‘Yesterday’s Tormentor’, which have been broadcast on the live circuit for a while – the latter featuring Fay screaming, “Get outta my face, you’re a waste of space!” – are the same catchy, husky mix of guitarish candour.

The Rezillos

The set was just under an hour and finished succinctly on ‘Somebody’s Gonna Get Their head Kicked In Tonight’, before the band signed their new record and mingled with fans accumulated over their prematurely short shelf life – something they’ve never done before. With plenty more singles and a new album due for release in the near future, the time travelling ability of the original band that funnelled itself into The Revillos is yet to be shadowed.

11/12/11: The Rezillos @ Underworld, London.

Photo (top) © Richard Battye.

Photo (centre) © E. Gabriel Edvy/Blackswitch Labs.

© Ayisha Khan.

Originally published in Altsounds.




Steve Ignorant

“The final show. Ever. The last time I will sing these songs.” Steve Ignorant, co-founding vocalist of former anarcho-pacifist band, Crass, at the end of his Last Supper tour, performed live Crass material for the very last time before putting it to rest for eternity. Punk is dead.

It was an emotional farewell of tears against tonsils with a few surprises thrown in during the best send off any artistic funeral could anticipate. It began with an impending black screen projected with “Welcome To The Last Supper”, before Steve and the band opened a packed setlist with ‘Do They Owe Us A Living?’ as a picture slideshow timebomb started flicking, panning throughout the whole evening.

Accompanying Steve on vocals was Carol Hodge, who jetted out lyrical regimes with flounce and impassioned mockery, such as in ‘Bata Motel’, a style that made Crass ubiquitous commentator on the politically absurd. A memorable version of ‘Big A Little A’ was given some glitterarcy, with children onstage to authenticate the intro as audience lyrical participation was constant.

Original Crass co-founder, Penny Rimbaud, walked on stage for a militant drums and vocals collaborative set of ‘Do They Owe Us A Living?’, with “There Is No Authority But Yourself” now on-screen – Steve’s and his first performance together in little under 30 years. Then original Crass vocalist Eve Libertine appeared for a dark distortion of ‘Darling’, with Penny remaining onstage for drums. Emotions threatened to break floodgates as the three of them embraced onstage.

Steve Ignorant

After fighting back tears as he said thank you to fans and sincerely apologised to Conflict’s Colin Jerwood over his book chapter, Steve dedicated his cover of The Ruts’ ‘West One (Shine On Me)’ to search and rescue workers and his lifeboat colleagues who joined him onstage in their uniforms, for whom he is raising money. And as Carol and Eve sung penultimate song ‘Shaved Women’ for the very last time, Steve slapped his face for crying, with Carol looking intensely fearful as the end was nigh. They held hands for the final song, ‘Bloody Revolutions’, with the French anthem riff ticking down to the last lyric. Then darkness and they were gone.

The atmosphere was more densely packed than the jostling fans, tear streaked and waitfull. But they were silenced by the end of Crass history as the inevitable bludgeoning blow sounded on a project Steve has worked so hard to bring them. And there’s no doubting, this really is for them. RIP Crass.

19/11/11: The Last Supper Ft Steve Ignorant @ O2 Shepherd’s Bush Empire, London.

Photos © Kim Ford.

© Ayisha Khan.

Originally published in Altsounds.




It’s been 30 years since Magazine released new material, hesitantly put off by the time-rich task of reviving Howard Devoto’s brainchild – a marbled punk pre-new wave study of the late ’70s to early ’80s. In the band’s eclipsed three-year span it produced four studio albums. ‘No Thyself’ is the fifth; at its mercy the bridging of Magazine timbre to energised renewal. Happily, they accomplished it.

The vast majority of new songs are masterful; in live performance a mixture of archetypal rebounding bass structures by new bassist Jon ‘Stan’ White on ‘Holy Dotage’, and Noko’s climbing guitar chords discharging into empire solos, the ones John McGeoch engineered all those years ago before his death. But most effervescent is the now expanding work of Dave Formula, who has shed the rigidity of classic composition to accomplish romantic dimensional structures of purpley creamy uplifting, such as ‘Happening In English’, once unbeknownst in instrumental achievement to any Magazine fan until now.

Thematic material (‘Other Thematic Material’ incidentally the title of one of the new songs) is transcendental; at times sexual, at times explicitly dark – ‘Final Analysis Waltz’ and, more significantly, ‘Hello Mister Curtis (With Apologies)’, which dabbles in Devoto’s existential suicidal flirtations – but otherwise pertains to established Magazine horizons. The live difference is in the reworking of much older songs that stand the test of reinvention; the maintenance of trademarks against exploration. What Devoto calls ‘upgrading to Magazine 6.0’.


Devoto’s stage art of teasing the audience in the band’s reform shows two years ago were this time accomplished in his display of large white signs during ‘Definitive Gaze’ reading, “You do the meaning” and “Let’s fly away to the world” – a note of lyrical exhibitionsim that Devoto produces in an almost childlike manner. Contrastingly, there was the heightened thrill of ‘Motorcade’, with alternating lighting sequences striking fear of impending mechanical fate.

The band finished its first out of two encores on ‘Shot By Both Sides’, their first single, by which point Devoto had reached virile athleticism, sharply leaping into the air on the chorus breakline. He’s cheekier, warmer and closer in contact with his audience than ever before. Perhaps a little thank you for still listening.

10/11/11: Magazine @ O2 Shepherd’s Bush Empire, London.

Photos © Imelda Michalczyk.

© Ayisha Khan.

Originally published in Altsounds.



Sham 69

Back with its original 1977 lineup after more than 30 years, Sham 69 has defied expectations by pouring sinew in the cracks of a previously broken band relationship. Headed by founder and vocalist, Jimmy Pursey, the legendary ’77 punks were rekindled with guitarist Dave Parsons, whose olive branch brought Sham to this point of restoration. Original bassist Dave Tregunna and drummer Danny Fury (Lords of The New Church) completed the lineup.

After months of hard work, the band had a massively improved sound quality, and thank goodness – the instrumentation was more resurrect than the one-dimensional performance of the previous lineup. There’s no other band that can contemporise with Sham’s mix of street punk, football boisterousness and intrepid experimentalism that finds further fathom with its roots through organic musicianship.

Tregunna’s bass elongated the once short power chants in opening song, ‘What Have We Got’, whilst Parsons’ passionate guitar was more flash as the life of the second coming relinquished from its strings. But the unmistakable hoarse vocals and lead antics of Jimmy Pursey were the irreplaceable sculpted refleshing much needed. The Hersham-raised founder, dressed in soviet grey shirt and suspender belted trousers, monkey posed around his mic, crowd fusing, before he stripped down to reveal an “I love London Hersham” t-shirt as ‘Hersham Boys’ rang out.

Sham 69

Amongst the famous numbers, songs like ‘Tell Us The Truth’, ‘Give A Dog A Bone’ and ‘You’re A Better Man Than I’ encompassed the raw ’70s ingredients that advanced Sham 69 before its time. The soft daytime tones and harsh interrogatives of the Jean Charles de Menezes inspired new song, ‘Stockwell’, had a great audience reaction and there’s likely to be more on its way. Despite previous warnings, this isn’t the last of the original Hersham boys quite yet. They’re just getting started.

29/10/11: Sham 69 @ Electric Brixton, London.

Photos © E. Gabriel Edvy/Blackswitch Labs.

© Ayisha Khan.






Gang of Four 3

The second night of the NME Awards’ serial performances belonged to the Gang Of Four (or rather the Gang Of Two, as some cynics would have it). Original post-punk practitioners Jon King and Andy Gill joined bassist Thomas McNeice and drummer Mark Heaney.

The band’s only planned London date of the year functioned well as a platform for the promotion of their new album, ‘Content’, released at the end of last month. Before a relatively young crowd, there was a heavy presence of the ‘smash hits’, although half the new album was also played.

They opened with ‘You’ll Never Pay For The Farm’ – the flagship track off the new album. It’s full of warping guitar adrenalin melting into the jutting tones of ‘Not Great Men’, which reverb off McNeice’s fretboard. ‘I Parade Myself’ was a dynamic setlist feature; its alto flatline quality and feverish intensity is hermetic.

Amongst other new songs was summer tinged ‘A Fruitfly In The Beehive’, composed largely of King’s honeyed vocals (his gruffness earlier on in the set was a sharp comparison). Disappointingly, some of the classics have a reworking about them – ‘Anthrax’ lacks its former detestation but charmed with King’s “beetle on its back” mimicking metamorphosis.

Gang of Four

There still exists the same audacious energy about the band: King is a rippling stage genie; his true self cannot be contained as he dives into acrobatic forward rolls. Gill crab walks the stage; McNeice is more comfortable and unrestrained from the timeless riffs he plays in tedious succession.

New track, ‘I Party All The Time’, returns to classic Gang Of Four funk from past album ‘Solid Gold’. However, counterpart, ‘Do As I Say’, is a clash of sound content and doesn’t quite find fathom with its militant spin, although the refreshing vibe of ‘To Hell With Poverty’ and ‘I Love A Man In Uniform’ set tone right again.

Unfortunately, the night was too disparate and disjointed; the classics lacked their original coating, although the newer material is promising. This was far from their best performance in recent years, but with so much concentration on the new work, it comes as no surprise.

02/02/11: Gang Of Four @ Heaven, London

© Ayisha Khan.

Originally published in Altsounds.



Adam Ant

Adam and his Ants last played The 100 Club in 1978 amongst a time of boozy bust-ups with Sid Vicious and Siouxsie Sioux, but this year he returned with a new lineup to smash the silence after more than 30 years.

In anticipation of his new album, ‘Adam Ant Is The Blueblack Hussar In Marrying The Gunner’s Daughter’, Ant was on his ‘World Tour Of London’ lacing a setlist of new material around the classic hits of his prime.

The lineup featured Boz Boorer (ex-Morrissey) and a return to Ant’s ’80s symmetrical instrumentation. It was a Lazarian comeback for the dead man walking, who proclaimed during ‘Beat My Guest’, “You can’t beat me! I’m back from the fucking dead!”

Decked in pirate garb, he reaffirmed the look that has now become embroiled in his performance and iconography. His songs are tokened by spirited variation: the paradoxical softness of ‘Catholic Day’ preceded the Mark Ashman tribute ‘Fall In’. Ant reflected, “[It shows] how dynamic punk rock was, how complicated and deep it was – pogo if you want.”

But from being the “last of the punks”, he deviated into marginals – a cover version of the retro ripoff, ‘Wild Thing’. Thankfully, Ant refreshed it with unpretentious jive before he played ‘Shakin’ All Over’ – a ’60s sweep of Vince Taylor impresario.

Between swigs of Guinness, he’s a crude comedian: (on safe sex) “Don’t let him in the fucking room, the wanker, until he dresses up.” The dexterity of his live act, that salty tattooed flesh and the warm delves of The 100 Club made for an intimate feast of post-pubescent punk rock.

And for the hits, Ant spat in detestation: of ‘Vive Le Rock’ he recalled the “three minutes of fucking agony – Live Aid”, yet finished with ‘Dog Eat Dog’, ‘Prince Charming’, ‘Ant Music’ and ‘Goody Two Shoes’. He’s back, but he’s not here for the jukebox.

26/01/11: Adam Ant & The Magnificent 7 in The Good The Mad and The Lovely Posse @ The 100 Club, London.

Photo © Imelda Michalczyk.

© Ayisha Khan.