UK Subs/Section 13 - Plymouth, The Hippo - 27th November 2009 Print E-mail
Written by Matt Phelps   
Thursday, 03 December 2009 09:01

Another punk and disorderly night out and I'm running late (as usual) not making it tosubs the club until nearly ten. Grabbing a quick pint, I work my way through the crowd looking for a space to catch what's left of support band Section 13. A brief glance backwards and I spy punk rock leg end Charlie Harper propping up the Subs merch stand with a can of lager.


Happily chatting away and signing anything that's asked of him, no airs and graces like so many other pretentious self important rock stars that will do all they can to keep a safe distance between their tender selves and the great unwashed. Charlie Harper on the other hand is a man who epitomises all that's right with what sadly seems to be a dying breed, namely people who care about their fans and are doing what they're do ultimately for one reason only, not fame, not money, just their pure unadulterated love of music.

Anyway back to Section 13 and they're busily delivering a blistering set of hardcore punk a la Black Flag, the type that makes your ears bleed at thirty paces, quality stuff. The set lynchpin is the quite awesome 'Size Zero', a lyrical attack on the hoardes of celebrity obsessed talentless wannabes that strive to be anyone but themselves. Size zero frame, size zero brain. Punk ethics straight from the heart. Be yourself!


All the while, tattooed madman and Section 13 vocalist Jay is spitting more venom than a menopausal cobra, leaping about like a lunatic on a break out from the asylum and whipping up a storm with his mic lead as the remaining trio of musos are thrashing out a set of boneshaking riffage heavy enough to sink the Titanic faster than an overgrown ice cube. And with a set also including a raucous blast through of  Bad Brains classic 'Pay To Cum' they soon have me spilling my pint towards and partly on their stand to pocket myself a copy their CD 'A Demonstation'. Punx not dead after all, thank fuck for that.

subs3Born a rocker, die a rocker, ... Ever since the intro tape of 'Drunken Sailor' had ended the opening salvo of Great British punk fired off by the UK Subs has had the crowd surrounding the stage whipped up into a fevourish pit of slamming bodies looking like a feeding frenzy of pirhanas. A bleach-topped Harper standing over all, observing the mayhem, throwing out one tasty morsal after another, and grinning from ear to ear. Banging his head and throwing his mic stand from side to side it's hard to believe this guy turned 65 this year.


Barely pausing for breath between songs, it's not until after 'Rockers' that he turns his back on the crowd to get a drink from the drums, only to turn back and find that some cheeky fellows at the front have swiped his microphone and are declaring, in unison, that "There's only one Charlie Harper! There's only one Charlie Harper...!" You get the drift. Laughing, he regains control of his mic and 'New York State Police' has the crowd going mental again before kicking into overdrive with 'Endangered Species' which sees the slammingsubs2 moving up a couple notches (time to move back a bit before I end up spilling another pint).


'Tomorrow's Girls', 'Teenage' and the mighty 'Warhead' see the pit extending further back still before a riotous 'Stranglehold' brings the first part of the act to a close. 'CID' and 'I Live In A Car' form not only the rowdiest part of the night so far but also the main body of the first encore. After being called back out for a second and sadly final time to a crowd nowhere near keen on going home yet they rip into a punked out cover of Kevin Bloody Wilson's 'Hey Santa Claus' before the garlic crunching climax of 'Party In Paris' leaves the battle scarred punk rock patrons moshing it up for one last rip roaring hurrah. Nice!