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STEVE IGNORANT/PARANOID VISIONS @ CLUB ACADEMY, MANCHESTER 01/10/10 BY PHIL KING

It’s been over twenty years since the songs of Crass have been given an airing in Manchester, but that ended on Friday when Steve Ignorant’s highly anticipated The Last Supper Tour rolled into town.  Ignorant, erstwhile lead singer of Crass, the quintessential English anarcho-punk band whose legacy cannot be underestimated, has decided to embark on what is in essence a ‘greatest hits’ show. And it couldn’t be timelier:  In the coming months we’ll understand fully how much damage our ‘leaders’ intend to inflict on the communities up and down the land, by implementing the cuts that will establish an ideology that only favours the rich and powerful, so it’s great to have Steve back again to deliver some righteous anger.

 

The support is supplied by the wonderful Bono baiters Paranoid Visions.  From the word go they set off running and don’t pause for breath until they reach the finishing line some thirty minutes later.  The crowd, a mixture of young and old (mostly old!) punks give the band  some well deserved applause, then wait for Steve and his band to take the stage while being entertained by the reggae being played over the PA.  There’s very few toys on the stage.  There are guitars, microphones, and a drum kit proudly displaying the infamous Crass logo, though to the right of the stage is a screen on which pictures are projected showing the band and it’s fans in earlier times.  It’s a nice touch though tonight’s anything other than nostalgia trip.     

With Gizz Butt on guitar, Beki Straughan on additional vocals, Bob Butler on bass and Spike T. Smith on drums, Steve Ignorant has assembled a black clad crack unit that are more than able to do justice to the songs they play tonight.  Simplicity is a potent force so fortunately there’s been no inclination to overhaul tonight’s material which rarely deviates from the recorded versions. This is much to the delight of the crowd who get behind the band from the opening chords of Punk Is Dead and stay there till the end. And on we go, riding a sonic rollercoaster with Steve spitting out the words of each classic with a freshness that would have you believe they’d been written yesterday.  A fist-pumping Do They Owe Us A Living still manages thrill and precipitates the serious dancing breaking out all around the room, and, as always elicits the furious response of ‘of course they fucking do!’  A blinding So What, which still remains relevant in the light of the concerted attacks organised religion is launching on the hard fought right of women to own control over their bodies, as well as it’s determined efforts to poison the fertile minds of the young by introducing Creationism into schools as a legitimate science. On occasion Beki Straughan takes centre stage to take the lead vocal on Shaved Women and Where Next Columbus? allowing Steve take some respite from the intensity and a few gulps of lager.  

The show comes to an end all too soon, though the crowd’s ecstatic demands for more are met when Steve and the band return for a couple more songs.  It’s then that the Last Supper comes finally to close with everyone present more than satisfied.

Review/photos by Phil King

http://steveignorant.co.uk