Ronald McDonald meets Laced Up Mary
Friday 26th July 2002, Market Tavern Birmingham, UK £3.00
This is the 3rd UK tour these Dutch maniacs have undertook in as many years. And it was great to reacquaint myself with their 'never to be forgotten' stage show and hardcore power. Brezhnev in case you didn't know already are Amsterdam's premier Hardcore punk outfit. And if you dispute that fact then see big Oeb, I think he'll pursuade you differently. Another last minute added bonus to tonight's bill was the unannounced support. I was expecting some faceless baggy panted stop/start nu metal act, but lucky for us it was Liverpool's MDM! This band have been slogging their vintage brand of punk rock around every toilet since the late 80's. So with that added attraction it was looking good for a couple diverse punk acts on one stage.
There's something about hot summer Friday nights, going to see a punk band that still gets my adrenaline rushing. I arrive in Brum with a sweat beaten brow which was quickly extinguished by a cold pint of Carling. Rob, MDM's Brummy based guitarist is already here. He's talking Blackpool, as he gives me the lowdown on last weeks HITS festival where MDM had played. Stabbings, tent city, trouble with the locals, Dead Kennedy's merchandise paranoia and a few good bands too, made for an eventful weekend tale. From what I hear Blackpool wasn't the punters favourite choice, after Morecambes lovingly tender embrace, but that's life I spose. I soon hear a rumbling upstairs as Brezhnev are soundcheking so I go and investigate. As I make my way up the stairs to the gig room I spot their battered Orange touring tank outside, which must be a belisha beacon to customs officials ha! Becca Puke is already up here eagerly sniffing for some 'zine' action (next issue of Puke due out NOW!) It's good to see the band are in fine form, lean 'n' mean and revving to go. A pale looking (or was it the relics of greasepaint?) MC Dogshit, lead Canadian vocalist is prowling the floor like some caged boxer, cracking wise cracks. Oeb the (drummer and label boss) was overseeing the events by the fire escape, and Motor (bass) brandishing his Rickenbacker was in his usual buoyant mood. I didn't catch their new American/Canadian? guitarists name, but he can make a rampant noise underneath that matt of hair. I also come face to face with my old pen and ink rival (see Don't Care retorts), the ultra sly and obsessively ringed editor of Jellybrain zine, Paul Raggity. He was trying to look busy hanging T-shirts on coat hangers thinking is he or isn't he. Well there was no handbags at dawn, but he knows that I know, if you know what I mean....tee hee. His Aladdin's cave of punk rock merchandise is something to behold though. T-shirts, badges, zines and records are all essential ammo for a long haul round the toilets of England. Once he realises I ain't here for vengeance he quickly sets Becca Puke her task of the night ("this is a family website!" - shocked of Dudley) on door collection, to which she begrudgingly does like a less than eager schoolgirl. In the meantime I do my duty for tonight.... that is go downstairs and begrudgingly get wrecked!
Mandy the spiky peroxide lead singer in MDM has just arrived from a sweaty rush hour M6 traffic jam. And with her came a small Liverpudlian entourage of sexy dominatrix's with whips 'n' chains plus a video camera. It's being filmed for posterity or a low budget porno (tee hee). Still on innuendo street I ask Mandy how Penetration were at HITS? They played a blinder and she was ecstatic about finally meeting her biggest inspiration, Pauline Murray. Richie (bassplayer) told me MDM were playing with Penetration at a Birmingham gig later this month, which definitely caught my interest. However Penetrations guitarist has since told me it's not been booked!!!, oh well maybe one day soon. MDM are doing a split EP with Stokes, Destination Venus out on DV's own label sometime soon though? I make a quick refill by the bar and have to contend with another anti-Wolves slagging by local Brummy fans (yawn). Other punk luminaries in attendance were Ross (GBH & Market regular) who had just been informed G.B.H. are part of the support slot for the September, LA Sex Pistols extravaganza. Steve (Ripping Thrash zine) was spotted here too later on that night, come for Brezhnev no doubt. Meanwhile Dave from Death To Music who was buzzing about tomorrows Pistols FINAL reunion at the Palace, had his excited fever pitch bought down a few notches when I let slip the Pistols were doing another gig in LA in September, oh well that's the Pistols for ya!!!
Anyway enough small talk (lagers gone up £2.10 a pint grrrrr) on with the show. MDM secrete themselves on stage with a valise full of their olde and newer numbers. They are for me, the UK's answer to X in the dual vocal department. Mandy and Rob's neat interaction on the better songs is one of their biggest draws. They play their brand of UK punk in a strictly vintage '77 style, with a mean dose of 80's energy, and a boatload of today's passion. It's been about 5 years since I last caught em in da flesh, and they never seem jaded. They still love playing punk and it's great to see. I always enjoy their professional approach too. Mandy has learned her stagecraft well with a cleverly picked set that was never gonna let em down. Mandy is still the focal point in this band with her friendly demeanor, string vest, zippy mini and dominant melodic vocals. Rob, her vocal sidekick in Sid 'n' Nancy T-shirt rips ups the chords with ease, whilst Customs official by day, bass player by night, Richie rumbles away. Mandys other half, Rag on drums is the true engine of this band, as he revs up the songs from his none stop marathon drum workouts. They have a nasty habit of getting their tunes running inside your head, but I ain't complaining. Songs that stand out are too many to recall here, but 'Centre of Attention', 'Friday' and 'Destiny' from the last album were the pick of the bunch, and of course the rock 'n' roller 'Stacks Stilettos Makeup and Mohicans' is always a gonna be a treat. That staccato guitar riff in 'Ra Ra Song' is up there too with it's glam rock delivery and penchant for visuals. They end their set with the bass driven raunchy 'Laced Up Mary' to positive cheers and a theatrical bow from Mandy.
BREZHVEV had a hard act to follow, but they're tight, raw and confident as they take to the stage with an earthquake. These fuckers are loud and mean...but hey what's this? Some clown jumps around out front like an extra from the Big Top... hold on a minute, underneath the bight red wig, greasepaint and those windowpane shiny red bovver boots is none other than MC Dogshit in his latest new guise. Fucking hell!!! The audience look on open mouthed. They didn't expect this as he roams the front rows in a quasi Ronald McDonald/Wayne Gacy outfit scaring the shit outta em (snigger). The room is taken aback as he explodes in their faces like some red un yello demented silent screen weirdo, ducking 'n' diving. And with the room furnace temperature soaring, how's the fuck does he do it? The 'speed' must very good in the Dam these days. I was half expecting a plastic bunch of flowers but we settle for a water pistol instead. Brezhnevs front man is without a shadow of doubt one of the true great performers of this punk age, he's here solely to entertain and ram home his bittersweet lyrics to us ignorant Brits. Brezhnev despite the funny angle. The straight guys behind the clown produce the real in your face hardcore, so other bands take note. This band could show you a thing or two. They got passion, determination and downright throbbing power to foil the antics in front. And yet they are still another band who are criminally unknown outside their Euro circuit. This situation has gotta change if there's any justice left in this scene. This band play hard and they ain't slowing down either....the brakes are cut as their big beefy riffs jump out the Marshall's devouring all in sight! Can't remember the new tunes off their recent album but they sound impressive against the older assaults from their positively bitchin 'North America Sucks' album. 'Suicide Suit' is dispatched with precision sarcasm and is very relevant if you live in Israel right now. Even the cover rifferama off (Dayglo Abortions) 'Glad To Be A Canadian'... "pass me another Dutch girl!" had Brezhnev written all over it. By the time the inflatable dick came out during 'Spermbomb' (dedicated to Harum Scarum no doubt), the makeup was running fast, but the energy was still there despite the Digbeth heat. As Mr Dogshit dedicates his latest snotty observations to a won over crowd without even a gulp for breath we are lead down that hoary old road to 'District 72 ...."fuck you" complete with dumbo intro "I before E except after....... Ha! . This is still the bands finest moment conjuring up that simple but intence, fast as fuck attackl. Brezhnev are Hardcore like the real Hardcore should be...Best gig this year so far!!!!!!
PETER DON'T CARE