Portland Arms, Cambridge
I love The Stupids. There, I’ve said it. I’ve got it off my chest. My love affair started long ago in the mid-80s and of all the punk bands I first stumbled across, the Stupids were the ones that I connected with the most. For a start, they were fun and fun was not high on the punk rock agenda in those days. These were angry times, Conflict were leading an assault against the system and the system was fighting back but the Stupids blew Kool Aid flavored raspberries in the face of police oppression and got right down to creating hyper-speed yet addictively melodic American influenced hardcore punk, the like that had not surfaced from the UK before. They were bratty, obsessed with trashy American culture and carved their skateboards through the 80s music scene, leaving a slew of classic records (all recently reissued by Boss Tuneage and Visible Noise records) and magazine covers, and then they were gone. 20 years later and they’re dipping their toes into the band reunion waters with a secret appearance at the annual Boss Tuneage punk alldayer in Cambridge. A relaxed, friendly atmosphere, kick arse BBQ and a day of great bands (Bedfall Falls, TV Smith, Textbook and straight-edge legends Youth Of Strength all pull killer sets out of the bag) provides the perfect backdrop of the Stupids return.
The current Stupids line up features original drummer Tommy Stupid, now slimmer and without the blonde curls, and guitarist Marty Tuff, without the tuft of hair on his head as featured on the sleeve of their debut album. Vocal duties are taken by long-time cohort and former guitarist Ed Shred, while new boy Ross (but old friend of the band) takes the bass. Kicking off with ‘Elephant Man‘ from their first single, it becomes immediately apparent that Tommy’s years away from the drum kit as drum & bass DJ Klute has done nothing to tame his Tasmanian Devil approach to drumming as his limbs become a blur of speed as the band thrash around him creating more explosive energy in their first two minutes than every young band in the room. The set is filled with every Stupids song you could hope to hear (apart from ‘Terrordome‘ and ‘Layback Session‘!!) as Ed throws himself around the stage, clearly enjoying singing these songs again after all of these years, soon getting used to being onstage in a band without a guitar to hide behind. He deals with it well.
As each song charges by the band get more comfortable and hit their stride (despite Tommy suffering from a tragic case of drum slippage) as the classic pop-thrash of the likes of ‘Skid Row‘, ‘Fridge‘, ‘Memory Burns‘ and a ludicrously fast ‘This Is The Norm‘ charges by.
But it’s not all about nostalgia. Three new songs get an airing tonight with Tommy back on vocals of which ‘Feel The Suck‘ is the best and provides the band with their first new single in 20 years. Welcome back Stupids…so much fun….
For a clip of The Stupids playing ‘Elephant Man‘ live, click here.