CONTROL / NEWTOWN NEUROTICS / THE ANGRY AGENDA Friday 6th February 2015 at the 100 Club, London
Back in the eighties I was very familiar with the Newtown Neurotics, one of the more cerebral and left wing bands of that era. I saw them play a number of shows, each time often memorable for something that happened (Putney – closed by the Police during the Miners Strike, Leighton Buzzard – where music occasionally interrupted the fighting, the Greyhound – last show and not forgetting New Malden – a long walk home ‘cos the last bus had gone)! I’d not seen them since though so when promoter Human Punk announced that he’d booked them I had no hesitation in getting a ticket even though I didn’t really know the other bands on the bill.
It’s a pain getting from work to central London and so I missed Skurvi but arrived for the start of The Angry Agenda. Up for it from the off with maybe already a few beers under their belts they went through a strong set of what is known now as street punk anthems but would of at one time been called Oi or boot boy anthems. The singer cajoled the crowd into a response with songs about boots and braces and smacking people in. I’ve got to say they were catchy, rowdy and enjoyable but lyrically just about the opposite of the stance taken by the Newtown Neurotics. I’ll be honest here – I started to wonder how that band would fare with this crowd when they took to the stage after The Angry Agenda finished their last song with a load of their mates on stage having gone down a storm.
The Angry Agenda (photo: Steve Cotton)
The Angry Agenda (photo: Steve Cotton)
Luckily Newtown Neurotics had a big build up from the promoter who explained why they were such a brilliant band and linked it all back to a time when he put on Running Riot at the 100 Club and witnessed vocalist Colin from the band singing along to every word when the DJ played Kick Out The Tories. Colin sadly died just a few days later and had said the Newtown Neurotics were his favourite band so Human Punk had resolved to get them to play the same stage. The band themselves hadn’t played there since the 80’s and commented that no video or photos exist of that gig. Something we could all put right tonight!
Newtown Neurotics at the 100 Club in 2015 (photo: Steve Cotton)
Just as I remembered them the band kicked off with the high pitch guitar of the intro to Wake Up, building up and going through the gears until it all comes crashing in with the great opening line “It all begins at school when they tell you you’re stupid and the jobs you get offered make the matter conclusive”. They hit their stride and the crowd come to the front; a quick look around shows a lot of the audience know every word and are enjoying singing along. The band have a new bassist – god he must have been young if even born when the band started and behind the kit I’m pleased to see first time around drummer Simon returning the band to two thirds of its original members. In the crowd tonight is BBC Radio 6 DJ Steve Lamacq clearly loving it all – it’s good to see someone from a mainstream channel liking this stuff because back in the day asides from John Peel it was hard for bands to get any other airplay.
Steve Drewett from the Newtown Neurotics
Original drummer Simon back behind the kit
The set list reveals a raft of classics including ‘Hypocrite’, ‘Newtown People’, ‘The Mess’ and, of course, ‘Living With Unemployment’ and ‘Kick Out The Tories’. Oddly missing is ‘Mindless Violence’ a song maybe more familiar than most to a section of the crowd as a version was included on the ‘Son Of Oi’ album. This turns out to be just an oversight and its duly played. A very short speech from Steve Drewett precedes their final song essentially saying that politics can be full of complications and compromises but that he can make it simple for us before immediately launching into their most famous lyric with an impassioned plea of “Let’s kick out the Tories, the rulers of this land”. Even when this is done the crowd want more and the band duly oblige with a brave (because its unrehearsed) run through of ‘No Respect’. They were really enjoying it and so were the crowd, its great to have them back and I hope to see them again soon.
It’s heading to 11.00 now and a last train home but I want to at least see some of headliners Control. They started off just great but a fair amount of the crowd was having to go by this stage, it was noticeably thinner by the time I left about five songs in. They seemed a very decent street punk band with singer Iain adept at rabble rousing and with every song seemingly having a particular point rather than just a run through of punk rock cliches. I really liked opener ‘ Punk Rock Ruined my Life’ – one to see another time!
Control Punk Band
Iain from Control
Control punk band at the 100 Club