Punkemon: elusive punks finally sighted and captured.
17/11/2011 – 229 Portland Street.
There is a section of the punk community, born too late to see any of the bands in their prime (and in some cases alive) that attend punk reunion gigs for a chance to stamp-book memories against their record collections. King Mob is a rare treat for such name collectors. Containing important members of The Sex Pistols (Glen Matlock), The Pretenders (Martin Chambers), The Sharks (Mr Snips Aka Stephen Parsons), and Chris Spedding (Roxy Music, Elton John, John Cale, and Paul McCartney) the parts of this band have been huge in the past. The question is whether or not they can stand up and be counted.
229 Portland Street is a great little venue and it’s nice to see a new central space open that has a lot to offer: a good bar, reasonable sound, and the old school décor vibe is pretty timeless. The crowd was a good mix of industry people, mainlined Pistols fanbase, and friends of.
The message of rock rebellion seems to have caught something of the spirit of the times
First up, the Bermondsey Joyriders and John Sinclair brought the ‘Noise and Revolution’ sonic agenda to a new crowd. Things are getting better and better for Gary and his tartan cadre. Since last we saw them the show has become tighter and tighter and they’re starting to have real fun with their audience. The message of rock rebellion seems to have caught something of the spirit of the times and with a slew of respectable shows lined up, where 2011 was good for the BJs, 2012 is looking great.
King Mob take the stage in a serious fashion, chords ring out and riffs rumble through the air. Immediately it becomes clear that here is a band with high aspirations. Chris Spedding has made a career out of avant garde overtures from the attitudes of Link Wray and Duane Eddy, and King Mob is no different. The band is a powerful unit and all members seem to fire on all cylinders, however one criticism is that there isn’t a lot of light a shade in their songs and much of the set can be fairly montonal (though never monotonous).
Snips is a great front man and the band cooked through the whole set. However it was the last three songs of the night that lifted King Mob from being a band of oldies to a very real, very dangerous band.
It’s a weird thing, when a band suddenly gets it very right. On the tracks like ‘I was there’, ‘Who’s Chasing Who’ and ‘Make That Call’ it signals something important. Not least that, you’ve spent half a set listening to tracks that could have used a little more sparkle and that if King Mob continue to pursue quirkier compositions there isn’t much they can’t achieve. I understand the tendency of older musicians to want to revisit the music of their youth and much of King Mob’s music seems to be a little too safe, however the standout tracks mentioned above show a serious band in control of its passions, and quite intent kicking London a new one.
More passion, more dissonance, more chances and more weirdness
Watching these legends on stage there is a serious lack of ego about King Mob, but there wasn’t a lot of passion coming across until the final songs and encore. More passion, more dissonance, more chances and more weirdness from Mr Snips made the best songs shine bright, and I’ll be first in line to see them with a few more shows under their belt. Game on.