John Monday/Dirty Deelux - Abertillery, Dolls House - 9th September 2016 Print E-mail
Written by Nev Brooks   
Tuesday, 13 September 2016 03:00

As all of us here on Uber Rock would probably tell you, we have more than won our spurs, travelling the country supporting bands as we discover them. But, with more exposure to differing styles of music, our tastes very often change and mutate, although we’re always drawn back to our roots - rock/punk or wherever we started listening to, maybe even a mix of both - each track in turn holding memories about, times, places, experiences but more importantly coming straight at you in the live arena. If a band can’t cut it live, we move on rapidly. Keep your arena-sized venues, and give me a new hungry band or an older experienced one still pushing, trying new things, in the cheapest, sweatiest venue available and I’m happy.


Dirty Deelux poster


So where am I going with this pre-amble in a live review?   Let’s start with experience. Dirty Deelux have their roots firmly in the punk rock underground; resplendent with tales of fledging performances in the Legendary TJ’s from every member, these guys have been there done it and got the T-shirt - and odds on you will not have heard of them !!


Mark Price, or Smartie as he is known to most, is one of the founder members of Two Marks and a Frank, an odd folk punk techno outfit that released an album in 2015 narcissistically named ‘Greatest Hits’. This got some national press attention, being reviewed in the Morning Star, but due to a complete lack of interest by the band they slipped in to a Beefheart dirge that no one could climb out of, and stopped gigging soon after the release of the album.


Smartie has been in and around the music scene since the early 80s, playing extensively with Jon Langford (The Three Johns, The Mekons) on some of his side projects He is a founder member of The Men of Gwent, which started on the road to nonstop obscurity back in the early 90s and whom it has taken over 25 years to get the first release out on vinyl: ‘The Legend of LL’ (released on Country Mile Records). This quarter of a century dalliance with chartist punk has seen the band playing festivals like Green Man, Glastonbury, Isle of Whyte and the Tollpuddle Martyrs. They will be touring later in October (starting on the 22nd), playing Manchester, Leeds and probably slipping in a local gig in the Newport area.


Kieron Thomas-Kie, drummer extraordinaire, has been around since the Newport Seattle days, providing the backbone for such bands as Varispeed and the Dead Beggars, touting his wares around London and the surrounding areas, picking up rave reviews. Matt Watkins provides vocals and guitar to the band and also did his apprenticeship in the Dead Beggars. All three them have plied their trade from TJ’s to the Windmill with the passion of old miners on a new seam.


So what have we got? A band that live have a hell of a lot of potential, a hard earned respect within the underground community; like our reviewers here on Uber Rock, they have earned their spurs - but also promise everything I look for: hungry, still pushing at the borders of mediocrity and doing it their own way.


So what were they like?


Fucking awesome is the answer… shame that the Friday night crowd wasn’t there to see it. Difficult to pigeonhole definitely: if you were to throw the soul of a prototype Stooges, the rock and roll heart of the MC5 and give it a new school garage punk slant, you’d almost be there. Tracks wise the one’s that really caught my attention: ‘Kanye’ - described as “Urban Funk” by Smartie and it definitely had that funk underpinning while still holding on to that rock and roll heart great stuff. ‘Dead Beat’ is all pace, power and attitude and ‘Stalker’ is an interesting little builder that just explodes; just what you need on a Friday night: music to drink to, music to bounce about to, music to make you smile. They reminded me of something Lemmy always opened with “we are Motörhead and we play rock and roll”: these were Dirty Deelux and they nailed the rock and Roll vibe!!    


So onwards, this is almost weird to say this is a gig where I specifically came to catch the support act and then intended to leave early enough to settle down back home with a rather fetching single malt, but best laid plans etc. While chatting to the guys from Dirty Deelux outside, the headliners John Monday started up their sound-check… and fuck me, did they catch our attention? The attention to detail in the sound, the dual vocal harmonies and the power and intensity that really belongs in an arena, playing here and now, malt can wait.


After sound checking as you do you end up in a conversation with the band who have travelled almost 3000 miles to get here from their base in Hamburg, and discussing the German music scene and the difficulties involved and the way you are viewed as a German band singing in English, while struggling against the rise of Hip Hop (seems to get everywhere).


John Monday


John Monday are Nikita Grabin on guitar/vocals, Adrian Boog on bass/vocals, Ole Müller on guitar/vocals and Dominic Harrison on drums/vocals. They formed in 2013 and have a new CD coming out at some point in September they tell me… but watch this space and site for further details. I genuinely, apart from the sound-check knew absolutely nothing about these guys, and as the instrumental intro starts up I had to pick my jaw off the floor: it just built and built before they moved it up another gear with ‘Got It All’. Sound wise, they tick the same boxes as Electric River and Zico Chain: that arena sound that deserves a huge audience. Researching post-gig, the band call themselves “new age Rock and Roll” but do you know what? Why pigeonhole? These are a kick ass rock and roll band, grounded in all the key influences, but they’ve mixed it up, put their own slant on things and come out with something completely different.


These guys will appeal across the board, to rock, metal fans and punk fans. They are high energy and intense, but with an underpinning sense of humour. After hearing the like of ‘Believe’, ‘Party Anthem No 2’, ‘Heart Trail’ and ‘Rock and Roll’, I can 100 per cent state that the new CD will slot nicely into my collection and hopefully many other peoples; the crossover potential is enormous.


Two bands at different stages, new and old, both showing the drive passion and energy that we look for, both doing something a bit different. Don’t you just love live music!!!!