It was much later than I had anticipated when I arrived at Derby’s Victoria Inn and I was dreading missing the first artist but, a bit of good fortune for me, it was much later than anticipated when Chris Butler appeared on the stage at about 20:30 and consequently I managed to catch all of his set.
Less fortunately, Chris’s set had to be cut short to fit all of the acts onto the bill. This meant that we only got four tracks. But, oh, what tracks they were.
Chris is a folk-punk-protest singer and his songs are story-telling gems of modern life. With songs ranging in topic from The Underdogs versus the Overpaid, through For Fox Sake and I Never Much Liked James Bond Films Anyway to The World According To Bono and Tony Says Good Luck, Chris keeps your attention with three chords and his acoustic guitar.
Tonight was no exception, and the crowd were held spell-bound as he took us through An Evening With Michael Portillo, A very topical and relevant Don’t Vote BNP, Lucky Escapes and Celebrity Bus Crash.
We wanted more but there was no time as Garden Gang had to set their kit up.
I was still buying my beer refill when, minutes later, Garden Gang took to the stage.
Hailing from Munich, Germany, the band are a five piece who have been touring the UK with Eastfield for the last few weeks. Judging by the performance that they put on tonight they will have been thrilling audiences wherever they went as the show was full of energy and unthusiasm and the crowd were full of positives after the set.
Funniest point of the show was when PamP, the lead singer, said that the next number was for everyone from Derby. There was no response, as PamP discovered that the venue was full of people who weren’t from Derby.
In my opinion, this was the people of Derby’s loss, as they missed a superb punk/glam, proto-Cramps racket, which would have gone down well anywhere. Particularly, Ann Dee, on very-excitable backing vocals, Alex on lead guitar and PamP, were very energetic.
Catch them soon, if you dare.
Easfield rolled into Derby for the third time in eight months and Jessi, after telling us that “a funny thing happened on the way to the Vic”, launched the band straight into Tingalpa.
The funny thing turned out to be the not so funny Derby Transport Police who accosted Jessi rather unfairly on Derby train station on the way to the gig, apparently for trying to use the wrong toilet. After rummaging through his bag of dirty laundry and issuing him with a nasty piece of paper describing him as “Build: Slim”, which he was quite pleased about, we were rewarded for the efforts with a version of Port Talbot Transport Police named after them; “Derby Transport Police”.
Every Eastfield gig is different and one of the things I particularly like is that you can play spot the classic punk song as they roll through the gig. I spotted two tonight, after a superb Rugeley Crimestoppers we rumbled into Aspartame – which ended with a snip of I fought the Law – and the marvellous Beast of Bratislava contained a brief excert of The Clash’s Janie Jones. If you’re lucky you might also catch a Dead Kennedys track and I’m sure there are others.
Burt Reynolds Rides Again got all the young punks at the front moshing their socks off, before The Black Hole and a stunning Drive On Henry shunted us into Cancer of the Universe. Then, with Bambi getting some help with his vocals from an enthusiastic crowd member, they finished with the masterpiece that is Another Boring Eastfield Song.
No Sharks Against Surfers. Bah!
40 minutes of enthusiasm, excitement and commitment. Marvellous.
Next up was the legend that is Derby’s Paul Carter. Unfortunately, due to the distinct lack of any service from the British train companies, most of the crowd had rushed off to catch the last train and so Paul ended up playing to a sparse crowd of about 20 people. He didn’t seem that bothered and sang his heart out.
I only managed to catch four tracks before I had to run for my train as well, two of which were Bert The Ladyboy and a lively Sham 69 cover, but I didn’t leave before Paul told me off for clapping while holding a half full plastic glass in my mouth.
I’m sure he’d have played ‘Cause I Had Speed before the evening was out.