ENGLISH DOGS / BASTARD SQUAD / BULLETPROOF Saturday June 28th 2014 at the Pipeline, London
Back in ’88 I spent a few months in Melbourne, Australia having the time of my life not working and just hanging about, going to punk rock gigs and very little else. The country seemed full of great bands that I’d never heard of before, just about everyone I met was friendly and it’s a time I’ll remember as long as I have my marbles. Most of the bands I saw were heavily influenced by the American hardcore scene – more Jody Fosters Army than Joyce Mckinney Experience – but there were a few who were in touch with the British scene. The most obvious example for me was Bastard Squad, a Melbourne outfit with an obvious love of the UK82 sound typified by bands like Discharge and the Exploited. I got talking to their singer, Jason, at the Prince Of Wales Theatre and ended up seeing his band at a couple of shows and even went to their house destruction party (I kid ye not). Anyway, to cut an already too long story short I heard that they were playing their first show in London, not only that but it was with the version of the English Dogs that contains their original frontman Wakey and I knew this was one gig I couldn’t miss.
First band on tonight are Bulletproof, a band from Tasmania who are in the UK supporting Bastard Squad. They kick things off in style as the hall starts to fill up and are a perfect match for the other bands on show this evening. Playing fast, thrashy hardcore with what seemed like political lyrics they impressed. Shame so many missed them preferring to smoke outside – that’s their loss I guess.
I’d reintroduced myself to Jason from Bastard Squad earlier in the evening but hardly needed to. He remembered more from that time than I did, recalling how I’d copied the lyrics from the Blitzkreig Lest We Forget EP and sent them to him. I’d completely forgotten about that. It was great to catch up after 26 years and their set was all the more special for it. I’ve had their tape all these years and loved hearing songs like Jack The Ripper again live. They have a fuller, slightly more metally sound now but remain an unashamed straight down the line UK82 punk band. Feedback from the local crowd was great too, hopefully they’ll make a return visit some day – but make it sooner than a quarter of a century next time chaps!
English Dogs hit the stage next and got things off to a raucous start. Wakey is the only original member in the 2014 line up and this version of the band (there is another) only concentrate on the bands early releases on Clay and some more recent recordings. They detest the other metal English Dogs – a fact they make all too plain on the song Death To The Dogs. Just few songs into the set things come to a shuddering halt. A guy named Paul who had been throwing himself about quite a bit down the front is collapsed on the floor. One look at his foot explains why – it’s now on the wrong way round. Most likely dislocated and broken the band sensibly stop as he’s right in the way of everything and an ambulance is called. It was so good to see how many people came to his aid, not just that but that they knew what to do. Nobody in the venue was complaining about the band stopping, they knew it was serious but it was an exceptionally long time considering the venue was a stones throw from Liverpool Street station before an ambulance crew turned up. Helped out of the venue the Dogs returned to the stage with a promise to make up for lost time by crashing through anything remaining in their set that people shouted out for. They played an absolute blinder, super fast and tight with songs like Psycho Killer taking on a new sense of urgency. It all ended pretty suddenly but what a night. Three great bands and a chance to see an old friend. And get well soon Polish Paul.
Wakey, English Dogs
Jason from Bastard Squad and the English Dogs
Jason from Bastard Squad
Bulletproof from Tasmania