Tuesday, March 20, 2007

The New Chris Scene

StrangeTime/Vigilante/The Part Time Punks, Varsity, Wolverhampton, Saturday March 17 2007.

We enter the Varsity's all-day punk party not with a mohican but a quizzical expression as The Part Time Punks are explaining their song with an associated dance move (remember them?). 'We're not asking you to go out and shoot a politician', they explain, 'just to do the handbrake!'. A Parallax View health warning is needed here: do not attempt this dance move on an icy surface. As for the band, they were spiky enough, but we'd have kind of liked 'em better if they *were* trying to tell us to shoot politicians. That's the problem with anarchy these days - standards are slipping.

Next up are StrangeTime, our fourth time seeing Kate Finch and company, but the first in their new post-Tara incarnation. Ms. Hartel's attitude and decolletage are thus replaced by the more relaxed and mobile Chris Maher who offers a useful counterpoint to Kate's edgy presence and The Boy John's energetic drumming action.

The roll-on roll-off schedule means that the band arrive on stage using first number 'Ex' as the soundcheck, but technical issues are ironed out in time for mooted single 'Personality Disorder' which has built up into a roaring beast of a track that is getting airplay on WM and Kerrang! and no doubt all other good radio stations. Despite a short set time (25mins, running order fact fans) they risk a new number ('it's not very punk, I'm afraid' gulps our chanteuse) which goes down well, before finishing with a triumphant effusion of 'Lust' which grabs the attention of the young men stood behind your correspondent. 'There's something about a girl and a guitar', one of them sighs, and indeed on this evidence it's hard to disagree.

Then, while Phill pops to the chipshop and the band towel themselves down (or whatever bands do apres-gig) your correspondent tried to keep his flowing locks inconspicuous as possible as Vigilante climb on stage to an enthusiastic reception from the biggest fanbase of the night thus far. The band don't get many points for subtlety or originality but we're a sucker for shouty harmonies and sweaty energy so find the performance more entertaining than we'd normally care to admit.

Still, later in the Posada, your suddenly loquacious hack does have cause to observe that the group gave the impression of being 'the type of people who listened to Green Day before they listened to The Clash, and that's the wrong way round, if you ask me'. Unfortunately, a knuckle sandwich of skinheads at the bar appear to think Dead Kenny is referring to them, so we skiddadle into the pub's centre, where the short-haired contingent of our congregation hide in the pub's cubby-hole while us bravehearted long-hairs are left transfixed by the twin over-exposure of the pub's TV screen and Fearne Cotton's two-chicken-fillets-short-of-a-C-Cup cleavage, Cotton's buds offering a more comforting alternative to the suspicious stares of the locals...



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