A great time was had by all on Friday night as Subway Sect played a storming set to a packed house & happy crowd. They were hot to trot after playing Rafters in Manchester
the night before - a good gig, apparently, but with only 30 or so people there due to non-existent promotion. One punter even asked Vic if it was meant to be a “secret gig”! There were no such problems on Friday with a packed hall; bar besieged all evening & a lively atmosphere.
Its worth taking a moment to praise the venue & Tapestry, the promoters, who helped make it such a good night. From the outside it didn’t look anything special, just the basement under a concrete 60s church - we stepped into the hall, & it was just like a Life on Mars moment. Back to the early 70’s… Tinsel a go go! Revolving coloured lights! Serious action round the pool tables. The d.j. added to the vibe with a set comprising mainly early Fairport Convention, Grateful Dead & Deep Purple. The hall was basically a long concrete shoebox, but it turned out to have perfect acoustics once the Sect started playing. And a real treat for anyone used to the usual rip off £ondon pub prices, here was a subsidised bar so relaxed atmosphere guaranteed with the cheapest drinks in a long time.
We’d settled down by the dartboard & tea urn when the support act came on. The Boycott Coca Cola Experience turned out to be a bloke in a denim jacket with an acoustic guitar. Now I don’t want to be unkind so I won’t say much, but deliberate ineptitude gets boring pretty quickly. There was an ok song about ebay though, & to be fair he went down ok with most of the crowd.
Vic Godard photo by mr_ina
I met Vic & the guys outside in the smokers’ exclusion zone, bantering & relaxing with the other exiles & everyone was really keen to get on & play after the problems the night before.
The hall was rammed by the time they came on, & suddenly there was Marc’s bass hitting you just right as it resonated round the room, locked tight with Garry Ainge’s drums, while Vic & Kevin’s guitars wove, thrashed & scythed through the room. They opened with “We oppose all rock’n’roll” & played a powerful, concise set of mainly older material and a couple of new songs, “Take over” & “Best album”. There was nothing “Greatest Hits” or nostalgic about their set, thought - just good fast punk, played mean & lean. In the past its there’s often been a cliché autopilot description of Subway Sect as “shambolic” - that certainly isn’t the case now, as they moved purposefully through their set. There’s no flab in the show & it was really good to see a group confident enough to play some really short tracks, no silly solos or unnecessary repetition, just on to the next song. Apart from a slight glitch in “Derail your senses” - “Now you know why I didn’t want to play that one” quipped Vic - there wasn’t a weak moment in their set. A couple of personal favourite moments came with “We are all prostitutes” & a snatch of “Why did you shoot me?2 - check youTube for a very young Vic singing it on the 1977 White Riot tour.
The audience were a cool, friendly & easy going mix of ages, interests & styles, from old punx thru many a Camden indie kid, middle aged pony-tailed Americans, hardcore pool players, and a few fashionistas & posers for good measure. And for a fair amount of the crowd, it was just their regular Friday night down the social & a chance to have a good time with a live band.
Otherwise, Subway Sect are working on/recording a new album & Vic as always has a few side projects on the go. Fortunately the good folk of St Aloysius & Tapestry enjoyed the night (& the bar takings!) just as much as we did, & came up with an instant invitation for a return gig. Keep an eye on Subway Sect’s MySpace page for further details & get yourself down there - you’ll have a great time.
Sorry there aren’t any pictures from me but Jane was so thrown by the discovery that her old school punk era gig-going leather jacket now reeked of mothballs that we forgot the camera. Next time for sure…
Here’s the set list - We oppose all rock’n’roll/ Birth & death/ Out of touch/ Stool pigeon/Watching the devil/ Take over/ Derail your senses/Best album/ Idiot of all/
Et meme/ Rock’n’roll even/ Nobody’s scared/ Ambition/ Exit no return
Line up - Vic Goddard (gtr), Gary Ainge (drums), Kevin Younger (gtr & keyboards), Marc Braby (bass)
Photo of Vic by mr_ina (www.flickr.com/photos/mr_ina/)
Review by Den Browne