UK Subs plus TV Smith, 100 Club Oxford St W1. 9th May 2013.
So I met up with me old mate Graham for this one which was cool as we used to go and see the Subs regularly down at the Marquee many moons previously. We met outside the club, where several punters seemed to mistake us for security (including Mr Smith who I duly held the door open for, must have been the black attire or something!). After retiring to a local hostelry for refreshments (some more refreshed than others judging by the suspiciously sweet, herbal smell in the air), we adjourned to the venue for the evening’s entertainment.
Well it’s been a very long time since I visited the legendary 100 Club in London’s Oxford Street (Decades in fact! But of course I’m not that old…). And, surprise surprise, it hasn’t changed a bit. Everything looks identical to how I remember it all those years back; I don’t think they’ve even flushed the bog since my last visit! Even the punters, the gnarly punk rockers and their more enticing female counterparts were exactly where I left them last time, it was like a time capsule (Time don’t matter at all)! In fact, time seemed to play a central role in my perception of tonight’s proceedings.
So we checked out the merchandise stalls and it was instantly noticeable the good value offered by the Subs for their punters, with Tees at a Tenner and the CDs not overpriced too! Maybe that’s another time capsule thing… Then while chatting with the lovely lady running TV Smith’s stall, out pops Charlie Harper and starts chatting to the crowd, ever the man of the people. Sorry I didn’t get to say hello Mr Harper, maybe next time hopefully!
On to the entertainment…
TV Smith blazed through his set like the mighty punk rock troubadour that he is with a healthy blend of old and new material and a sprinkle of Adverts stuff. While he was doing his thing I looked around at the crowd and people were lapping it up, one lovely young lady at the front was with him word for word throughout. And there not two feet away from me on my right was stood the lovely Gaye Advert, the time capsule clearly working well in her favour! TV Smith seemed genuinely chuffed when he politely asked the crowd if they’d like to hear a new song and he received a hearty response. After a brief break, he returned for an encore of Adverts classics; Gary Gilmore’s eyes, Bored Teenagers and One Chord Wonders. Superb!
By now the place had filled out nicely and it was time for Charlie’s Boys…
Alvin, Jamie and Jet took their respective places on stage followed by Charlie and they hit off with a stonking ‘You Don’t Belong’ and the crowd went berserk, very strong moshing tonight with too strong a whiff of testosterone in the air, for this punter, so I chose to view from the edge of the pit, only receiving the occasional contact as the cloud of chaos occasionally splintered out in all directions. At one point Charlie demanded they calm down! But they didn’t though and everyone seemed to be enjoying themselves bar the odd one or two so it was all fairly innocuous really.
The Subs gave us a great set with a smattering of newer material (‘Hell is other people’ for example) fitting in nicely with the classics; ‘Emotional Blackmail’ (which took the roof off), ‘Time and Matter’, ‘Rockers’, ‘Tomorrow’s Girls’ and ‘Party in Paris’ to name a few…
In between the numbers there was a bit of good natured banter between Charlie and Alvin. And a lot of punters were calling out for songs such as ‘Teenage’ to which Charlie replied “We don’t to requests!”
Back to the time thing… this band are timeless! Their material sounds just as urgent and relevant today as it ever did. Charlie doesn’t appear to have aged at all in the last couple of decades, Alvin too for that matter! Maybe it was just the effect of the tardis like qualities of the 100 club or perhaps the dim lighting!
Of course we were treated to a brilliant rendition of ‘Warhead’ with much audience participation. And all too soon they’d left the stage leaving us all yelping and whistling for more…
And more is what they gave us, more classics! For the encore we got ‘C.I.D.’ followed by ‘I live in a car’ (executed deftly at lightning speed). Then Charlie finally gave in to the crowd and said “Okay, you’re getting one request!” There were many screams for different songs but Charlie turned back to one punter and said “You were loudest” just as they kicked into ‘New York State Police’. Awesome!
And then, all too soon, it was over, and we filed out of the time capsule and back into the dark reality of the dank/dreary London (springtime!) evening.