Live Reviews

SNFU live

Water Rats,

With some old bands that come back around I have to deliberate whether I want to take that particular trip back down memory lane. In the case of Canada’s SNFU I don’t think I actually reached the deliberation point; their music is so hard coded in to my central music system that making this trip up to London was never in doubt.

SNFU in 2009 just has one original member, but that is their crazed skinny ass singer Mr Chi Pig, a truly unique frontman, and although he is less athletic these days, he’s still got the madness, moves, a sack full of props, and plenty of bark in the vocals. With his all black attire and long bleached hair he resembles a wizened old Chinese sage. The assembled players he has put together are seriously road tested and although their stage presence is notably more static than the SNFU of yore, musically they are bang-on. Enthusiasts of North American Hardcore roots will note that guitarist Ken Flemming was in Winnipeg’s The Unwanted who put out an album on BYO in ’84 and had a stint on bass in SNFU in the early Nineties.

The word is that having missed their ferry to Dover, and then being held up by immigration, the band are running very late, but they arrive about 9:30pm, and straight after a short but solid set by The Restarts, set up… and are all ready to go just after 10pm… launching into “I Forget” from their second LP “If You Swear You’ll Catch no Fish” (BYO), the crowd gets right in to it and we are definitely up and running! The set is a well oiled run thru their lengthy back catalogue, pulling out choice cuts from their first 2 LP’s from the mid-Eighties, the 3 Epitaph LP’s from the Nineties, and a few tracks from their most recent (2004) “In The Meantime and In Between Time” album… but nothing from ’89’s “Better Than a Stick in The Eye“.

The momentum rarely lets up, bodies and beer go flying, Chi Pig sports a pig’s head, baits the crowd, wise cracks lurid jokes, and when things start to wind down he thanks us profusely for showing up and still having an interest in his band. Jeez, why wouldn’t we??!! It’s been a blast, and although the 11pm curfew has clearly been breached there is no way in hell that anyone is letting the band leave with out an encore… so they rapidly plug back in, and belt out a trio of classics from their debut “And No One Else Wanted To Play” album – namely “Seein’ life thru the bottle of a bottle“, “She’s not on the menu” (original version!) and close out with “Cannibal Café“… fantastic!1.. 2.. SNFU!!!

Pete Craven