[14.10.06] [Andrew Gallix]
3:AM REVIEW: EATER LIVE IN LONDON
"This wasn't a nostalgia trip. It wasn't a cashing in on the anniversary celebrations, and it wasn't to push a repackaging of a back catalogue. It was just rock'n'roll played the way it's supposed to be, and that's something that is more difficult than many of us appreciate"
Mainey from El Diablo fanzine reports back from the Eater, TV Smith, Don Letts and 100 Punks exhibition bash at the 100 Club in London on 28 September:
Sorting out childminding and the finances to make attending this a reality verged on miracle work. Even the nine and a half hours on a coach through the night, and then the same again on the return journey seemed daunting. So in hindsight was it worth it? Damn right it was. Who cares about the thirtieth anniversary of punk? That's just marketing. Who cares about it being held in the 100 Club? It's just bricks and mortar. What matters is the energy that's generated on the night, and in that respect the night was a resounding success. TV Smith stormed through an acoustic set of old and new material. All of it, without exception, being welcomed by an enthusiastic audience. TV Smith was always lyrically one step ahead of the pack in the original wave of punk acts in my opinion, and thirty years down the road he continually proves that he is an artist that will not be written off. If anyone is in any doubt of how relevant TV Smith is in 2006, then you only have to lend an ear to his latest release Misinformation Overload for any misconceptions to be written off.
Don Letts then did the business on the decks (see, I know all the dj lingo) and played an eclectic, if retro, set that went down very well. The guy is a living legend, and as I come from a cultural desert, I really did not think that at any point in my life I would be in the same room as such an iconic gentleman. I had a short word with him, and all I can say is that he comes across as a very easygoing guy without any pretensions. I'm not big on the celebrity worship thing, but all kudos must go to Don for his part in the music I love, and the fact that he comes across as a man of the people.
Eater were always going to be an iffy one. Even in their moment in the spotlight they were young lads learning how to walk in public. So all these years later with much more experience under their belts, how were they going to translate the songs from then to the present? I was hoping that they wouldn't 'improve' on the material. We've all seen it. A band takes an old tune and because they are bored playing it, or feel it's a naive reminder of their previously limited skills, they add some nice widdly guitar wankery over it. In the process they just fuckin' ruin it for all the punters that want to hear the original with all its teenage fire. So I was very pleased that the band simply plugged in and suspended time for the length of the set. It was fast, it was electric and I am very pleased to say that right at the moment that they blistered through their set, I wouldn't have wished to be anywhere else. This wasn't a nostalgia trip. It wasn't a cashing in on the anniversary celebrations, and it wasn't to push a repackaging of a back catalogue. It was just rock and roll played the way it's supposed to be, and that's something that is more difficult than many of us appreciate. Hopefully this will not be the last time that Eater grace a stage. I'd certainly make the effort to see them again, and how many bands from 77 could I say the same about? I'll leave that to you to work out, but really, only one hand is necessary.
The other highlight of the night was the rather wonderful 100 punks exhibition. All I can say about this is that if anyone has recorded the diversity of the rising youth culture of the late seventies before, they most certainly haven't in such an imaginative and vibrant way. The photo booth pics blown up and rendered in day-glo colours really captured something that I previously thought was impossible to pin down on an image. It's the passion of the times. Each and every image appears to be a big two-fingered shout of 'Look at us, we're the future, and we're not looking back'. Maybe some of the current generation could see something in this. Not to plagiarize it, but to start something new again. Then again through my jaded eyes probably not.