20th September 2003
This show was part of a series of multi media events featuring art, films and gigs under the billing of the Final Fling to mark the passing of Giros which is due for demolition in the very near future. The place has seen better days and is a bit of a shithole but it has kept the punk/anarchist black flag flying in N.I from 1986 until now. So it's going out with a bang with the debut show from Belfast's first punk supergroup $hame @cademy which features Brian Young ex-Rudi, Greg Cowan ex-Outcasts and Petesy Burns ex-Stalag 17 quite a pedigree. I've watched the band practice a couple of times and they were very good as you would expect with experienced musicians of this calibre but I've high hopes that tonight's gig will push them onto greater things with the energy and instant feedback from an audience a lot of whom never saw these guys play live in their legendary bands during the punk heyday. Well they're legendary in this part of the punk world anyway. The suprise factor of what they will play is lost on me and a few others who have already seen the band perform in a rehearsal situation but everyone here is in for a real treat with a 20 song set packed full of punk/glam classics.
Support tonight came from the DJ Colin out of current Belfast punks Running Riot and his punk disco and Petesy's other band Too Da Kan with the multi talented instrumentalist Mr Burns on bass. They were very eclectic in their musical style and muso the total opposite to the straight ahead punk thrash of $@. Earlier in the evening there was a suprise screening of the Belfast edition of the BBC youth programme Something else from 1979 on a big screen which featured Rudi and the Undertones live, I knew in advance and I had purposely left it till 10.00 PM hoping it would be over before I arrived which it wasn't and I'd miss it which I didn't as I make a few appearances in it and I knew I was going to get a slagging from mates who hadn't seen it since it was first and probably last broadcast in 1980.
But tonight was all about $hame @cademy and they didn't disappoint. One member who shall remain nameless had an attack of nerves before the gig but there was no need as the hybrid audience which included the most punk veterans from the 70's in one place I've seen for a long time mixed with a fair amount of current punks who were all there to check out and support the local punk legends latest venture and relive some of their misspent youth for a few hours. The band started strongly with the Rudi song 'Excitement' but they had a bit of a bum start with the third song the Outcasts 'Self conscious over you' they joked about it from the stage with the audience and there was further good natured banter from the stage and back all evening, but it was the best thing that could have happened because once they got the mistake out of the way any nerves that were present went out the window and they began to fire on all cylinders and as the set progressed and the confidence grew they just got better and better. A very drunk Terri Hooley got onto the stage trying to steal the bands thunder and mumbled something totally incoherent that nobody understood into the mic much to the dismay of the band and amid a barrage of fuck offs from the audience. The young punks complete with mohawks and bottles of cider threw themselves around the dance floor which was fast becoming a swimming pool with spilled drink to the Ramones 'Sheena' and the Pistols 'Something else' while the older ex-punks who had seen it all before stood around feeling all superior singing along and reminicing about the Harp bar and being a punk all those years ago. One punk classic was played after another with special mention going to the Stooges 'I wanna be your dog', the Outcasts '7 deadly sins' and 'Rudi's 'Big Time'. They finished the set in a blaze of glory wth the Heartbreakers 'Born to lose' which was dedicated by Youngsy to the man who invented punk...Johnny Thunders and Rudi's 'SSRUC we hate the cops' which was dedicated to Joe Strummer as it was the cancelled Clash gig here in Belfast on 20th Oct '77 that ended in a riot which was the inspiration for the song. Any doubts as to if the band would cut it live on stage was definitely put to rest as the feedback from the last song Bowie's 'Suffragette city' faded away, the band got a unanimous thumbs up! The big grins and looks of relief after the gig on the band members faces said it all, they were obviously glad to get the debut gig out of the way and it was the success they needed to justify the bands existence. Now all roads lead to the big one at the Empire on the 6th of Nov for the long awaited book launch of 'It makes you want to spit revisited' and on that big stage it's gonna be the best punk gig anywhere for a very long time $HAME @CADEMY SUPPORTED BY THE DEFECTS AND RUEFREX.
Be there or miss out.
JOE DONNELLY Belfast 21.9.03.