Following on from their appearance earlier in the year at The 100 Club, Pink Fairies returned for another show in their home town, albeit missing original drummer Russell Hunter, in what was billed a “one-last-roll-of-the-dice” performance.

The dark abrasive riffs of ‘The Snake’, sang by Jaki Windmill (ex-Space Ritual; vocals/percussion) came early in the set and with George Butler’s (Dirty Strangers) stark, racing hardcore beats, it’s not hard to see how this band influenced forthcoming punk musicians. They then paid homage to the late Lou Reed in ‘Waiting For The Man’ – a blues rock ‘n’ roll song with Andy Colquhoun’s strenuous guitar solos carried through from the band’s ’60s upbringing.

A cover of The Beatles’ ‘Tomorrow Never Knows’ – the only hint that this band is often branded as being psychedelic rock – was sang with the childlike innocence of Windmill’s vocals. The drear of ‘Police Car’, which seemed slightly out of tune, was enlivened by more of Colquhoun’s technical guitar solos before Sandy Sanderson (vocals/bass) and Windmill sang the Mick Farren (ex-Deviants) funk song, ‘Waiting For The Ice Cream To Melt’, from the band’s ‘Kill ‘Em And Eat ‘Em’ album.

They finished on an encore of another song from the album, ‘White Girls On Amphetamine’ – punk before its time. Despite the show’s billing, it’s unlikely the band will be hanging up their wings quite yet: there’s talk of new recorded material and most probably more live dates. So watch this space.

Pink Fairies

07/11/14: Pink Fairies @ Dingwalls, London.

Photos © E. Gabriel Edvy/Blackswitch Labs.

© Ayisha Khan.



The Pop Group

Bringing to an end their first ever UK tour, The Pop Group returned to London following their reunion dates in 2010 to perform their 1980 compilation album, ‘We Are Time’, in support of Campaign Against Arms Trade. Mark Stewart on lead vocals was joined by fellow Pop Group members Dan Catsis on bass, Gareth Sager on guitar and Bruce Smith on drums.

Playing at the sold out show, the band featured funk fuelled ‘Thief Of Fire’, with its contrast of melodic guitar and bass against Stewart’s screeching and explosive vocals, feeding into an experimental noise mess, including Sager’s tormented clarinet.

The Pop GroupThey moved onto debut single, ‘She’s Beyond Good And Evil’, marked by its signature upbeat jutting guitar chimes and industrial-style experimentalism, well before its time. The mechanical reverberating riff of ‘Spanish Inquisition’ ominously haunted the set before 1980 single, ‘Where There’s A Will’, restored choral normality.

As with the other dates, an encore of ‘We Are All Prostitutes’ finished the grossly short one-hour set. With post-punk, funk, free jazz and psychobilly built on a foundation of raw experimental rock, The Pop Group’s genre defining live sound stands them aside from their contemporaries. And with a new album in the works, we can look forward to the band’s fresh and constant evolution.

26/10/14: The Pop Group @ Islington Assembly Hall, London.

Photos © E. Gabriel Edvy/Blackswitch Labs.

© Ayisha Khan.




After delivering 55 consecutive live dates, Mike Watt and his band, The Missingmen, played the final date of their tour at London’s Lexington, bringing to an end their third opera tour of Europe. The Missingmen are made up of fellow San Pedro drummer Raul Morales and guitarist Tom Watson.

Performing Watt’s fourth solo album, ‘hyphenated-man’, a loose concept piece consisting of a 45-minute song with 30 component parts, the band ploughed through the clank and clutter of the tempo twisting, bass and drum driven punk rock opera, tickled by the sheen of Watson’s flamboyant guitar.

The quick succession of individual parts titled on creatures from paintings by Dutch artist Hieronymous Bosch, ranged from ‘Arrow-Pierced-Egg-Man’ through to ‘Wheel-Bound-Man’, with a return to the fast pace of hardcore LA-style punk rock and the intermittent quietening of Watt’s comedic and reflective musings.

Mike WattAfter only 40 minutes the live performance of the “fucked up piece of music” was complete, with Watt’s profuse sweating prompting a member of the audience to ask him, “Are you OK?” to which he succinctly gave the reply, “I’m Mike Watt.”

The band even had enough energy left for a surprise encore in which Watt gave the audience a rare treat of more than 30-year-old songs from The Minutemen’s ‘Double Nickels On The Dime’ classic album, playing ‘The Big Foist’, ‘Retreat’ and ‘Spillage’, with Watson on vocals.

With further Watt live dates in the pipeline, including a rare Dos tour, we can hopefully expect to see more of the man real soon.

19/04/14: Mike Watt & The Missingmen @ The Lexington, London.

Photos © E. Gabriel Edvy/Blackswitch Labs.

© Ayisha Khan.



PenetrationPenetration were finally back on tour again, with the band’s show at The Garage breaking their silence in London after four years. Composed of founding members Pauline Murray (vocals) and Robert Blamire (bass), the band are now joined by two newer guitarists, Steve Wallace and Paul Harvey, alongside drummer Kev Hodgson.

They immediately got stuck into some of their best known songs from their debut album, ‘Moving Targets’, with the first three songs in the set also in track list order, playing ‘Life’s A Gamble’ and ‘Lovers Of Outrage’, the former featuring Murray’s scaling vocals and the latter exhibiting reeling guitar solos.

The pace then slowed with the washed up see-saw riff of ‘Sea Song’ before picking up again in upbeat B-side, ‘Guilty’. They also played from their modest back catalogue with ‘Movement’; a Wire-like intro, thrusting gear changes and flamenco finish.

After filming the audience on her phone for a students’ art project, Murray, who recently turned 56, performed a powerful cover of Patti Smith’s ‘Free Money’. Poker hot 1977 single ‘Don’t Dictate’ was full of the same punk fervour as back in the day, but was soon extinguished by the soaring heights of ‘Nostalgia ‘.

Penetration refreshingly embellish the puerility of punk with Murray’s vocal genius whilst maintaining the punch of catchy hit rhythms, so after some absence, their return to the live circuit is very much welcomed.

11/04/14: Penetration @ The Garage, London.

Photos © E. Gabriel Edvy/Blackswitch Labs.

© Ayisha Khan.