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:: Goldblade :: GBH :: Obsessive Compulsive ::
28 January 2011 / Academy 3 / Manchester
By Cath Aubergine

The news breaks midweek, and we're deeply concerned... John Robb, Manchester's one man multimedia human tornado, has broken his toe. We hope it was something suitably John Robb esque, such as, I dunno, kicking down the gates of rock'n'roll... but will he be OK for Friday's big hometown gig? it's already been postponed once (MM was not displeased about this, given that there were about six other great gigs on its original October date and January's pickings are somewhat poorer) and... hang on, this is John Robb we're talking about. Like Bert Trautmann he'd probably play on with a broken neck...

Support takes the form of something old, something new, something punk, something metal - Goldblade's appeal is a broad one and self-promoting this gig they've chosen wisely. The metal comes courtesy of Obsessive Compulsive, younger than most of the audience but a seriously impressive live band even to a non metal fan, their skills honed by a few years' relentless touring and their energy more akin to the feistiest of punk bands. Singer Kelii is a true firebrand, lyrically heavy on the angst and frustration but eschewing emo's whiny delivery for a power that could fill any stadium you care to mention, while guitarist Giz delivers foot-on-the-monitors riffs at a relentless pace whilst ensuring, as any real rocker should, that his hair never once stops moving. The punk, meanwhile, comes from GBH - yes, the GBH, 33 years into a career few at the time would have expected to see out the seventies. Like most of the second-wave street punk bands who were once their contemporaries there's little in the way of arty pretension here, just good old-fashioned meat and potatoes fast rock'n'roll and nothing wrong with that on a Friday night. And where Obsessive Compulsive have taken some punk influences into their metal, GBH have some definite metal influences in their punk rock - there are a good few songs in tonight's set that could have crept off a Motorhead album - and as your correspondent hurtles towards the big 4-0 and indeed Mr Robb himself towards the next decade milestone, it's great to see a load of people who've clearly passed both giving it loads down the front like they're 19 again.

So, yeah, it's a more restrained Goldblade tonight and... nah, who am I kidding? Regular 'Blade watchers may wish to note that John's shirt stays on for a whole four songs this evening as opposed to the regular three, but (chiropodists look away now) overall it's business as usual, the errant appendage being occasionally lavished with rather more attention than most sane people would give a 49-year-old punk's foot by those closest to it. Not that it and its owner stay still for long, of course. At which point I'm going to do something that isn't generally common practice here at MM - and stick up a picture of the set-list. There is a reason for this. Goldblade set-lists are the most gloriously rock'n'roll use for a piece of paper on this earth, I mean look at it - a collection of great rabble-rousing words with no bullshit and no messing.

And that's Goldblade. The songs are fantastic - verse and chorus, call and response, a crash of drums and a burst of guitar. You jump around and you shout along, or at least you should. We do. The punks and the goths and the indie kids and the rockers and the undefined, the young and the old. Punk rock may have been born as the music of rebellion specific to those who were young and bored in the brown decay of the seventies, but these days the spirit crosses generations and cultures, and there are few people in existence more imbued with that spirit than Brother John. What you see is what you get. Sometime towards the end of the set Brothers Keith, Rob, Pete and newest recruit Andy - the sometimes unsung heroes of this almighty machine - strip it all down to a menacing rumble and John unleashes a stream of consciousness that reads just like his writing, a tribute to Manchester and Blackpool, to the sort of cheers most public speakers would give their right arm for. The set ends, as they often do, with half the crowd on the stage - once again, Goldblade are the most fun you can have on a Friday night and if he hadn't told us he was injured we'd never have known. That toe's going to be the size of a melon by the morning...

Obsessive Compulsive
John Robb's Louder than War webzine, with occasional contributions from Cath Aubergine

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