Live Reviews

Subhumans Live

The Underword
Camden, London

23rd September 2008

We all know the history of punk by now don’t we. If you watch any mainstream documentary about punk rock they’ll tell you that punk started with The Sex Pistols,The Clash, The Damned,The Buzzcocks and ended when the Pistols broke up. It wasn’t like that, of course, as anyone who followed punk in the eighties will testify.

It did, however, go underground where it grew and grew into an unstoppable force where politically motivated punks like Crass, Conflict and Flux Of Pink Indians made punk a genuine threat and menace to society rather than just shock theatric tactics. Of all of the anarcho punk bands The Subhumans were among the best.

Unlike the screaming noise of many of their ilk, The Subhumans had and still have songs with memorable melodies and lyrics you can sing-along too, with lyrics that are more than just howling anger and bile but actually try to offer hope and questions to the answers. And the good news is, they’re better than they have ever been!

Having originally disbanded in the mid eighties (they went on to form bands like Culture Shock and Citizen Fish, still an ongoing concern), they first reformed to massive response in the early 90s and have been playing on and off ever since. Last year they finally released a new album called ‘Internal Riot’ and it proved to be a fantastic return to form. Tonight, to an enthusiastic crowd of punks singing along to every word, they pepper their set with some choice cuts from the new album (‘This Year’s War’ and the title track being among the best) mixed in with all of the classics from the eighties (‘Rats’,‘Religious Wars’, ‘Peroxide’ and ‘Joe Public’ are the pick of the bunch).

Considering how long this band have been going it’s incredible how much energy they still display when they play live. Frontman and lyricist Dick Lucus is still an absolute inspiration. Somehow he doesn’t seem to have aged a bit proving that the anarcho punk lifestyle is obviously good for your health. Incredible band.

James Sherry