HARD SKIN / PKN / GOOD THROB / INTERROBANG?! at the Lexington

Typical of me I’d adopted a “I’ll do that later” approach to getting my tickets for Hard Skin’s Christmas bash and only really took proper notice once they’d sold out. Luckily for me my old friend James Sherry came up with the goods at the last minute and so thankfully I made my way to Kings Cross on Saturday night with another old gigging partner – Jake from UK Resist.

Inside the venue at 8pm the crowd is building up nicely when a man in a suit appears at the back of the hall shouting into a megaphone. He clambers up on the stage still making his point and then the rest of Interrobang?! (a guitarist and drummer but no bassist) join in. That vocal style is immediatley familiar even if the musics not – Harry and Dunstan from Chumbawamba make up two thirds of the outfit. They fill the sound out nicely with guitar loops and are blessed with a spot on mix from the sound desk. Subjects are largely familiar (their view of social change with the benefit of decades of real life experience) with the exception of a brave song about the death of a parent. Their first gig was only back in October but already they have confidence and a wealth of material and receive a warm reaction form the audience.

Changing tack somewhat with a heavily distorted sound Good Throb arrive on stage and start out blasting tribal drum based simple but effective tirades. These three ladies and one man really go for it throughout their performance. Quite why the singer wears marigold gloves throughout is something I never worked out (maybe I should have asked !) but I loved their attitude and the way their music hits home at a really basic level. Looking forward to tracking down some recordings so if you know of any….

Pertti Kurikan Nimipäivät (PKN for short) are a Finnish punk band who have achieved a level of fame through being the subject of a documentary ‘The Punk Syndrome’. Each member has learning difficulties and the film covers their lives inside and outside of the band. After tonights show I can’t wait to see it, they were just excellent and received a fantastic response from the crowd. Each member of the band expresses real character with drummer Toni being a particular favourite of mine. Bands should entertain and they certainly did that, in fact as they walked off stage after a great set I happened to be  standing next to Johnny Takeaway of Hard Skin who was staring incredulously and I overheard him say “How the fuck do we follow that”?! (see what I did there – I had to get an Interrobang (?!) in this review somewhere)!

The answer to that is of course is simply to play their very effective brand of street anthems, indulge in some very amusing in between song banter and get the crowd joining in by calling themselves wankers. Hard Skin’s songs owe a great deal to the Cockney Rejects and that basic Oi sound. In fact they out Oi many Oi bands and that’s why despite having their tongue firmly in their cheeks their love for the genre has resulted in some truly memorable classics. With so many crowd pleasers including “We Are the Wankers”, “Sausage Man” and “Boys In Blue” they go down a storm and a short but consistently on the money set meant that everyone left happy with their favourite Hard Skin song lodged firmly in their head. All together now “You what. You what…”

Watch videos from the gig:

Hard Skin playing Boys In Blue live at the Lexington / PKN live 

Good Throb live at the Lexington

Interrobang?! playing Are You Ready People live at the Lexington

Interrobang?! (photo: Steve Cotton)

Good Throb (photo: Steve Cotton)

Good Throb (photo: Steve Cotton)

Good Throb (photo: Steve Cotton)

PKN (photo: Steve Cotton)

PKN (photo: Steve Cotton)

Hard Skin’s Johnny Takeaway (photo: Steve Cotton)

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