Leicester’s Punk scene
Friday 20th May 2016
The Lurkers at The Shed with The Docs, Budgie Smugglers and March to The Grave.
This page celebrate’s today’s punk scene in Leicester. We have focused a lot of metal, of late, and so this page flies the flag for punk. So, tonight we were at the Shed for a night of old school punk, headlined by The Lurkers.
Tonight’s show opened with The Docs. This is a band we have seen before. A band full of raw grit and, you know, it’s the way that they do it. That’s what makes them what they are. They have a style, all of their own. Some of the songs came from May Gillingham who stepped into the add a spot of glamour and vocal finesse to the proceedings. These guys provided a fine warm-up for the night, delivering a selection of good ole songs that we all know.
Another band we know well is The Budgie Smugglers. They started their set with their own individual rendition of Tainted Love, sang just like a football crowd would sing it, chanted and very fast, like a group of LCFC fans after a few beers. But, hey, it was fun! The ‘Smugglers came here to help us enjoy ourselves and they did that, very well indeed. That’s what it’s all about. It’s simple music delivered with cart loads of passion and huge sense of fun and I tell you what – I love this band. As their frontman said: “Say what you want – I don’t fuckin’ care”. But can you take seriously a singer who is strutting around the room in a pair of tartan tights? And a cod piece. of course, but then they are a right laugh and I for one always look forward to seeing them.
I’ve seen March To The Grave before. It was at The Shed, several year ago. I remember it will; it was one of those live music experiences you can’t forget.
They have part of Leicester’s musical heritage; they played at the Attik with UK Subs. This is another band with the kind of character that comes only with long experience of making music and entertaining crowds. As someone said to be during the show “Every song sounds like something you have heard before but its all their own stuff.”
The lead singer went over to the bar and drank the contents of the drip trays – now I remember that from the last time I saw them. Reprising the melody from a well known song he sang “We’re crap – and we know we are.” I haven’t had this much fun since grandma died. Brilliant.
It was not that long ago that I was at The Shed to see the Vibrators. Another of the bands that has played in Leicester many times before and of course at The Shed. The Lurkers made another return visit tonight. This band formed in the 1970s in London and play their first gig as a support to Screaming Lord Sutch. Here’s a photo from the band’s website showing what they looked like then.
This was at a time when punk fans were going to see the likes of The Ramones, The New York Dolls and Slade. As their website goes on to say: ‘By the time of the punk heyday of 1977, the band had built up a huge and loyal following, and were signed to Beggars Banquet Records, through whom their debut single, ‘Shadow’, was released. This single was voted by John Peel listeners as the twelfth best track of 1977’s Festive Fifty: The B-side, ‘Love Story’, voted at number 31. The Lurkers recorded four sessions at Maida Vale 4 Studio for John Peel at BBC Radio 1, and appeared on Top of the Pops, as well as various other media shows.’ The story continues: ‘
The Lurkers called it a day in 1980. Still, just two years later in 1982, Stride reformed the band, signing to Clay Records, a Stoke-on-Trent based label who worked with GBH and Discharge. With Clay, they released four singles and one album, ‘This Dirty Town’, then calling it a day again in 1984, when lead vocalist, Mark Fincham, ran off to work the drag clubs of Berlin.
This was not, however, the last we would see of The Lurkers, as in 1987, Arturo had a chance meeting with the hugely successful German punk band, Die Toten Hosen, and discovered that they were Lurkers super-fans, willing to finance a comeback album. ‘Wild Times Again’ was released in February 1988, launching The Lurkers once again back onto the live punk scene.’
Now all that is background. Tonight this legendary band was in front of us, showing everyone what it is like to be a band that made history. On stage tonight the same three musicians: Arturo Bassick, Dave Kemp and Stuart Meadows. As one reviewer commented: ‘Relentless, uncompromising barrage of 100 mph raw punk rock, taking its lead from the Ramones but replacing the bubblegum factor with an aggressive edge more akin to Motörhead’ or you might prefer: ‘Unabashedly as indebted to The Ramones as the Pistols but boasting a mock-cockney swagger which was utterly unique.’ The band has a bevy of albums and singles to its name and these are all listed on Wikipedia.
Tonight was about savouring the sound of a great band.
Seeing a band that is part of the nation’s heritage, let alone that of Leicester, is something you cherish.
After all, they supported Mean Street and The Police in June 1977. I think they appeared at Lock42 here in Leicester in March 2013 with our local band First Wave.
Punk in the past
Now as this is a page about punk, let me think about the bands that stand out in this genre. Leicester is home to First Wave, a group that we have covered over the years.
You might already have seen the review we did when The Vibrators were here recently.
One of the Leicester punk bands that has disappeared now from our stages but is still fresh in my mind was Full Circle. I put a photo of them on the photo gallery I posted recently. Also in that gallery Ghandis Flipflop, another old punk band I used to like a lot. Punk of course comes in a variety of flavours and many remember the hugely enjoyable pop-punk of bands like Ictus and Smokin’ The Profit or Neon Sarcastic.
Still alive and kicking are some of today’s Leicester bands that have a punk-edge, well it’s a broad sweep but you some would want me to mention The Brandy Thieves.
and possibly Bleechbox, The Burnin’ Clint’uns, The Sedations, English Guns and The Flying Kangaroo Alliance, and there are plenty of bands where punk is mixed up with other genres like Ska, think of Goldstein for example or post-punk, such as The Lost Future. Punk is a musical style that can be heard in the songs of many bands, influencing their original music and being present in the covers they play.
Leicester might not always be the first place you think of when considering Punk but its a scene that has always celebrated this genre and some of the country’s best punk artists have graced its stages over the years.
Now that’s not a comprehensive roundup of punk in Leicester; but I will try to bring you more – later.