Following a successful opening salvo, headlined in June by The Jim Jones All Stars, and despite attempts by complaining killjoys to get any future music on the pier banned, Punk’n’Roll’s summer parties came back strong.
Apologies to opening act, old-school punks Acid Attack – I arrived just as their final chords rang out.
But next up was something a bit different. Tensheds is a one-man act, just Matt Millership and his keyboard. He’s a bit bluesy, a bit boogie-woogie, sometimes a bit classical – and all underpinned with Matt’s vocals which recall Tom Waits at his growliest. For an early afternoon aperitif it hits the spot nicely.
Next up is the drums and guitar duo of Brazilians-by-way-of-Bristol, AlterModerns, who bring the pace up a notch-or-10 with the frantic riffing of their thrilling, primitive psych-punk. Their anti-establishment songs and calls for international unity and freedom of movement go down well.
The Space Wasters provide good-time fun, garage-rock – and some mean lead guitar. They also provide the day’s ritual offering of a cover of a scene forefather – a stomping run-through of The Sonics’ Boss Hog.
The Dirty Strangers were brought in after Little Barrie had to drop out due to their frontman’s commitments as part of Liam Gallagher’s live band. While they are certainly more ‘rock’ than ‘punk’, these veterans have enough muck under their nails to satisfy the crowd. Guest guitarist Guy Griffin of The Quireboys is an understated presence, but his solos add a bit of pizazz to their sound. And how many bands finish with an ode to a gold Cortina?
Sci-fi-obsessed synth-punk from France, you say? Why not. The Scaners are a bit of a revelation – with the band all clad in white, their high-energy set is part sung in English, part sung in French, and completely out there, somewhere beyond the rings of Saturn. Perfect music to get abducted by aliens to.
In a strong field, if it wasn’t for who’s up next, they’d be the band of the day.
Oh! Gunquit have built their reputation on their live show. Frontwoman Tina Swasey and guitarist Simon Wild both performed at the first pier party in other guises, but this time they were back with their main act.
I have yet to see them put in a bad show with their sax-driven take on groovy garage-rock, and that didn’t change here.
American Swasey is a livewire – sweating up a storm, never still, whether it’s shaking her maracas or jumping off the stage for some light audience flagellation during Whiplash. And of course, there’s her show-stopping party-piece – playing trumpet while hula-hooping.
But it’s not a one-woman show, she couldn’t do it without the lithe backing of the rest of the band.
The show ends with the audience invited on stage for a dance as the set reaches its chaotic finale.
The day was up against England in the Women’s Euro final, so with the obvious interest there attendance may have taken a hit as a result. While the end of the pier wasn’t packed, those who were there went home happy from an international extravaganza – punk without borders – which was always entertaining.
The final Punk’n’roll Party, headlined by Paul-Ronney Angel and The Bad Mofos is on August 21.