The train to Derby had us all packed in like cattle, which didn’t amuse any of the passengers who’d failed to get a seat. Just one more carriage would’ve made all the difference…
From the relief that was Derby station it was just a quick run across the road to the Victoria Inn, where I arrived in time to catch the first band, who I think were Addictive Philosophy (although the running order was Obnoxious UK and then Addictive Philosophy on the flyer).
Addictive Philosophy is a five piece playing their own punk/ska/oompah racket, which went down very well with the punters. I particularly liked the little extra that the trumpet added to the songs. Hungry Little Worms (In The Soil) was probably the best track – that I managed to catch the name of.
The Obnoxious UK were up next. This three piece from Birmingham thrilled us with a superb punk noise that motivated the mosh pit into the near demolition of the speaker stacks. Thankfully they managed to stand their ground against the onslaught although the film crew between the stage and one of the stacks looked decidedly wobbly at one point. Top stand out tunes for me were Elvis Is Dead and Amelia (introduced as being about an ex-girlfriend). We also had a guest vocalist at one point, who vanished back into the mosh pit, once he’d finished the number.
I was really at the gig for the next quality act, which really should need no introduction to anybody. Unfortunately, as ever, most of the rest of the world who continue to follow their media fed diet, seems not to have noticed yet, so Jessi Eastfield introduced his band with the immortal lines, “We like to do this demystification of any rock and roll process, just amble up here and pretend we’re um, not very efficient at all. So we just like bimble about for a bit and instead of all this dry ice stuff and strobes and stuff and then when you least expect it, we probably just launch into song and make a racket”. Spot on.
Mick Murphy’s Dirty Bar was the racket and the mosh pit moshed even more violently than for The Obnoxious UK.
With Jessi introducing each number with a short, related, story, Eastfield took us through a seventeen song, 45 minute set, containing more energy and enthusiasm than you see from many a top band these days, and the crowd loved every single minute.
After four songs, including the marvellous Rugeley Crimestoppers, there was a two minute timewarp while Eastfield’s drummer, Oddo, who is recovering from a serious illness, was substituted for Johnny Scumhater (from the New York Scumhaters) and the band bounced into God’s Plastic Railway.
Apparently, there’s Aspartame in Rugeley’s tap water, on top of its other troubles. Aspartame was followed by Money and Grant The Lumberjack. The band seemed to be thoroughly enjoying themselves with Bambi on bass grinning away and bouncing around his mic and Trina belting out her backing vocals.
A shortened Class 20s Of The Apocalypse followed Bury Vic Berry, which was introduced by a little story about how the nasty Vic had caused an asbestos cloud to cover the city of Leicester.
As everyone should know by now, Jessi doesn’t like Port Talbot Transport Police very much, but they’re no longer top of his list of disliked transport police. This coveted spot has been taken over by the Transport Police at Clapham Junction station who must have done something pretty awful. Expect a song about them to be written shortly, but for the moment the crowd moshed along to Port Talbot Transport Police.
A couple of “indie pop songs” followed, including one of my favourites, Pepper, and then we were taken on a Train To The Top Of The World.
Some of the time with Eastfield, you may spend time wondering what they’re on about, but the songs are fantastic, full of energy and you’ll get it sooner or later. And sometimes you’ll understand immediately, as with the classic Burt Reynolds Rides Again. Why has no one pointed this out before?
The crowd seemed to love it and there was even some, very brave, stage diving.
They finished with Another Boring Eastfield Song which, obviously, isn’t.
Best band you’ve never seen. Make amends and catch them soon.
It was just a shame that I only managed to catch one song from the headline act, Contempt, before making a dash for the last train home.
Eastfield Set list; Mick Murphy’s Dirty Bar / Fare Dodging / Humour Exclusion Zone / Rugeley Crimestoppers / God’s Plastic Railway / Aspartame / Money / Grant The Lumberjack / Bury Vic Berry / Class 20s Of The Apocalypse / Port Talbot Transport Police / S*W*A*Y*Z*E / Pepper / Train To The Top Of The World / Burt Reynolds Rides Again / Cancer Of The Universe / Another Boring Eastfield Song