To the casual observer, modern punk has all the appearance of an established orthodoxy, and yes it’s easy to be fooled into thinking there are certain codes you have to adhere to join the club. Obviously there’s the hair that’s dyed all colours of the rainbow and teased into a Mohican or some other outlandish style. There’s the mandatory leather jacket that has be decorated with studs and daubed with all manner of band names. There’s also the ringing denunciation of the church and state that’s often spat out with a snarl. Swirl these ingredients round in gallons of tattoo ink, then sprinkle liberally with piercings and you more or less have what passes for a bog standard punk rocker. But, if you take the time to lift up this crusty veneer and peer underneath, you’ll find the real scene is populated with folk who don’t fit that description as well as being some of the nicest people it’ll ever be your good fortune to meet.
Last Saturday I’ve made the long trek from Manchester to Crewe to see Wasted Life. They are one of the best new bands I’ve heard in a long time who I was happy to witness hammer out a performance full of spirit and positive aggression. The venue, The Box, was awash with all kinds of people; punks, skins, squares like me, but irrespective of how they looked everybody’s was there to have a good time. A small diverse community, if you will, of like-minded souls turning out to support this wonderful thing called punk rock.
For those that don’t know Wasted Life are a punk rock band from the wastelands of Stoke on Trent. They’ve recently released they’re debut CD called ‘It Means Nuthin When You’re Dead’ on STP Records which the band are currently touring the life out of. It’s a great album that’s full of energy and dynamism, you can hear almost immediately that this smart little band have managed to get the chemistry right. It’s also apparent, when you see this band, that these great tunes are being wrenched off the album and transformed into something really special when played live. On Saturday night I witnessed a band flexing its muscles with conviction and getting ready to fly.
It’s been a few days now and I’ve been trying to work out what it is about this band that’s so fresh and exciting. I mean they obviously don’t have masses of industry money behind them, so they’re not like a band who can advertise their way into your world. You know, one of those big bands who can fool you into thinking they’re good when in reality they only mediocre. They sound great, but then again, there’s tons of bands band that sound great. You listen and you like the songs, you singalong and shit, but there’s not that deep connection that comes with bands that are the real deal. Sometimes the reason to go see a band is because they look punk, because they’ve adhere faithfully to the template so they look cool while they churn out some identikit music. Thankfully you couldn’t ever level that accusation at Wasted Life. But though the truth is some of those things help, they all pale into insignificance when a band possess the magic ingredient called passion, and Wasted Life have a passion for punk that rages from within. It’s what brings their tunes to life so they make you punch the air and act like a dick. But that’s the thing about punk rock, or great punk rock anyway, when it comes directly from the heart it will hit you full in the face and knock you down for the full ten. And that true of any band operating in any genre. Nobody will believe in your music if you don’t believe in it yourself. And Wasted Life are really starting to believe.
Review/photos by Phil King