Live Reviews

GBH – Live

The Albert

The auspicious occasion is a birthday bash being thrown by two Brighton punkers celebrating turning the grand old age of 40 (and I should know!) who have organised none other than GBH for live entertainment. That one of the birthday lads is the drummer for Peter and The Test Tube Babies no doubt aided the cause in getting these Brit-punk veterans to sweat it out in the tightly packed and smoky sweaty confines of The Albert…. it’s certainly quite a coup.

By the time the band amble on to the tiny stage the clock’s about to hit 10, and the crowd are suitably juiced. Jeez, I don’t know when I last saw GBH – many, many years ago. Singer Colin is currently the only original member, although the powerhouse drummer has been with them for ages now. Guitarist Jock is currently in The States, but soon to return to the fold apparently, and his place tonight is filled by Karl from Billyclub (with previous in The Exploited) who makes tidy work of his responsibilities. And I dunno who the bassist is, but he gets his head down and does a solid job. Someone told me that the original bass man Ross has upped sticks to live in Hawaii – that’s one way of getting out of Birmingham I guess, and nice work if you can get it. But lest we forget, as a unit – GBH have pretty much been at it non stop since the very early Eighties, and bar maybe The UK Subs I don’t think you can say that for any other British Punk act… they deserve credit.

So, on with the show – and the band lay straight in to 60+ minutes of their trademark hard hitting punk with rocknroll edge – and the set is a mix of old shit from those landmark first records, a peppering of tracks from their most recent album “Ha Ha” and even a couple of new numbers that showed some form. Colin looks like he’s downed a few before the show and is as lubricated as many of the revellers, but he’s still got the moves and an ample set of growling pipes, but fuck it musta been hot up there in that leather jacket… !!! Birthday boy Dave (from the Test Tubes) gets behind the drum kit for a cracking rendition of “Give Me Fire” and that warms things up nicely as the band steam in to “I am The Hunted” “Sick Boy” “City Baby (Attacked by Rats)” a smoking version of The Stooges “1970 (I Feel Alright)”, “Knife Edge“… and although the requests for “Slut” (notably from the mullered head of Pig City) are ignored, there is a raucous reprise of that hoary old number “Big Women“, plus my all time fave GBH song “Generals“…. with the cuttingly topical “Britain needs you to die for her” chorus… and then it’s business as usual with “Alcohol” closing the set down. I think that was it anyways… I do recall my mate Dazza sticking another pint in my hand… and the DJ spinning Crass, Discharge, Zounds, Spermbirds, Nomeansno on the wheels of steel… dance floor classics one and all!

Thanks again Steve and Dave for sorting out a top night and welcome to the Roaring Forties boys….

Pete Craven