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Sunday, 8 April 2012

Punks Not Dead - The 4 Past Midnight Reunion - Classic Grand - 7/4/12 (Glasgow)

Very often the words 'punk is dead' falls from the lips of the fashionistas who have no understanding that punk has evolved past the point of being something as simple as a cultural phase reserved for teenagers wishing to rebel.
Punk is more than that.
It's a way of life, an ethos, a mindset.
With this being the case it may well ebb and flow in popularity as the years pass, but it never dies.
At its low points it exists in the corners of pubs all over the world with bands and fans quietly getting on with it on the fringes of the mainstream.
It no longer feels the need to pander to social trends.
It simply doesn't give a fuck, and with that attitude it has managed to sever any ties with any sort of reliance on what is, or isn't cool.
The bands and the fans are their own symbiotic life support system.
However sometimes it does crave attention, and when it does we see a gig taking place that allows the punks to bare their teeth and roar that they are still here, and that they aint going anywhere.
Last night was one of those nights when 4 Past Midnight reformed, and along with Hateful and The Red Eyes, played in the Classic Grand in Glasgow and raised a banner for the punks to rally to.
It was a rallying call that was answered with a great deal of passion and style.
The Red Eyes provided the opening salvo and once again played what is often referred to as a blinder.
I've probably said this before, but I have never seen them have an off night.
My friend Claire, who until last night had no idea who they were, mentioned that there should be a rule that all young bands starting out are required to go and see The Red Eyes so they know how it should be done, and she's right.
Their set is the perfect balance of musicianship, showmanship and great song writing.
A master-class in how music should be played to an audience.
Over the years they have distilled their sound down to the point that what they do has no fat on it.
They're a lean mean punk rock machine who have taken the music of The Clash, Stiff Little Fingers and the Jam as a springboard to leap forward from.
While their influences are on their sleeves for the world to see they don't sound like they are emulating their heroes though.
Instead what you get is all the passion of those bands, all the heat and all the energy bundled up and brought to you in the here and now.
They are consistently one of the best bands you could see in Glasgow and if you haven't seen them then do yourself a favour.
Next was Hateful.
Virtually everything said about The Red Eyes could be reiterated about them.
They don't sound the same as they are coming to the music from a slightly different angle, but everything is there.
Once again the musicianship is faultless and rips apart the allegation that punk rock is a style that a three fingered monkey could master.
The rhythm section is beat perfect and there's nothing basic about what they are doing.
Meanwhile Barry Lewis on lead guitar is indestructible.
Not that long ago he had a heart attack and yet here he is powering through a performance with his band mates that men half his age couldn't manage.
Saying that their set was impressive falls far short of conveying how good they are.
Saying they were fuckin' impressive doesn't cover it either.
Headline act of the night was 4 Past Midnight playing their first gig since reuniting.
On a personal note I have to say it was great to see Peter and Fred together again on a stage.
These guys are 4 Past Midnight, and without taking anything away from the others who have played in the band, or the bassist who did a great job last night, for me it isn't really the band unless both of them are in it.
Something clicks with them and it works.
From the first crashing chords it was as if they had never been away and the fans were bouncing along to every song while they lustily sang their hearts out to all their favourites.
The communal spirit was alive and well in the Classic Grand.
The word unity gets bandied about in punk circles and very often those spouting it talk the talk, but don't walk the walk.
That isn't the case with this band.
When Peter dedicated 'Fuck 'em all' in support of Fire Exit, another Glasgow punk band who have had their own trials and tribulations to deal with, it made me proud to know that some people will still strip all the bullshit away and make a public stance in support of their friends.
This is maybe why 4 Past Midnight remain dear to the hearts of their fans.
There's no airs and graces with them.
What you see is what you get.
Three guys playing solid punk rock with anger and good intentions.
Musically they sound more muscular than I've heard them before, but they never drop to a level of mindless droning and guttural shouts.
It's powerful, sometimes brutal, but the melody is there.
It's just being punched out instead of being danced around.
If you could put it in a bottle then the government would have to ban the sale of it due to its addictive qualities.
Once anyone witnesses quality punk rock played by people who know how to write and play songs that rattle about your head for days after hearing them, then it clicks with them that the cartoonish aspects of punk rock is just one facet, and not one that truly represents what is a real movement that has its fingerprints all over music and the arts since the seventies.
4PM understand this, and promote the bones of what punk is. They were the icing on the cake of the night, and as reunions go it couldn't have been done any better.
Three bands who never put a foot wrong for a fiver.
You can't do better than that.
What a night.
It fanned a flame in me that has been flickering.
Many thanks to Sandie Noone and 4PM for putting the gig on.
Mucho respecto to Mr Gemmell and anyone else who helped make the night run smoothly.
Big ups to my brethren in the 4PM Crew.
All the best to Helen who I haven't seen in an age, and of course the bands and everyone else who was there and made it such a success..
Go'an yerself Glasgow an' gie yerself a pat on the back.


  1. Great review!

  2. wha promoted tha gig last night?, it was a great gig and whoever promoted it made it guid,up tha punks!!!

    1. Thanks very much for your kinds words!!!!!! It`s folks like you who make all of the hard work, worries and stress worthwhile!!!!

      Like Mainy says ... I do it on a non-profit making basis!!! Any money left over after the venue etc has been paid .... goes straight to the bands (cos they are the ones who have to buy strings, skins, rehearsal time etc!!!!!). I don`t see why the bands should be out-of-pocket when they are the ones who are "entertaining" us!!!! XXX

  3. WOW!!!!!! Thanks so much for your words, doll!!! Totally appreciate it!!!!!

    Got to send a HUGE THANKS to all of the bands who played!!!!!! And also ..... to all of the folks who turned up to watch this gig!!!!!

    Brilliant bands, brilliant venue, brilliant crowd, brilliant pals who helped out!!!!! Canny say any more than that!!!!

    Makes me want to do it all again!!! :::GROAN::: LOLOLOLOL. XXX

  4. It was a joint promotion between Sandie Noone and 4PM.
    Lots of hard work went into making it a success
    Sandie does all this on a non profit basis and recently has suffered some financial losses with the gigs she has done. So this success was a sweet one for her.
    I'm personally really pleased that people made the effort to attend and I hope they come back for more.