The Big Blue Shed had put on a top night at Lewes Con Club – Menace / Last Great Dreamers / The Boys
Menace were London’s first generation no-nonsense boot boys, pre-dating Sham 69 and Cockney Rejects who overtook them in terms of mass popularity. They formed in 1976 at the Hope And Anchor in Islington when Webster met the other three members and were soon playing the Roxy. Their high-energy, unpretentious sets won them few admirers in the inkies e.g. the Press, but they swiftly built a strong following that brought together both punks and skinheads.
Menace: The Band…
Noel Martin – drums and vocals
Finn Panton – Guitars and vocals
Harv, Harvey – Guitars and vocals
Rob on bass and vocals and Hawaiian shirt
I arrived a little early and was lucky to hear Menace warm up! They sounded bloody awesome! One Two One Two was the number they ran through. Now I hadn’t seen Menace before. I knew of some of the back catalogue. So hearing the guys giving it plenty for the warm up had me buzzing.
The guys took to the stage and off they went. No slowies, no fillers just pure punk stompin rock and roll. One Two One Two was up first, I’d already heard it – it didnt matter – it was even louder and pulled the crowd into the main room. What a cracking start from Menace. Screwed Up from the early catalogue was next, this was pure shock and roll with a face full of awe!. Menace seemed intent on not leaving anyone standing, and hell we were only two songs in.
These guys were mixing up a caustic blend of punk rock but at the same time still shine through with some fine vocal work. They clearly know each other and their instruments and it combines to provide a sweaty glistening melodic undertones. These guys have history behind them, a rather tasty back catalogue of material, make no mistake, they produce a damn fine racket. What was next? Well we had a newer track Monkey and then the brilliant Social Insecurity and Party Animals.
The man at the back Noel has been with the band since day one. He share vocal duties with Finn and Harv and joins in with some fine inter-band banter. Sadly the back lighting was not working and so the drum kit was almost invisible, even my wound back flash couldn’t penetrate, but managed to get a couple of shots of Noel as he powered the band through the set. He and Rob working in perfect unison.
The energy levels were building nicely for Menace. I kicked myself for not seeing them before! An explosive set of explosive songs. Harvey takes the lead vocals on I Need Nothing. This freed up Finn to pull of some gloriously energetic guitar playing and pulled off some great moves. Does Finn use a plectrum? The sound from his guitar was superb. This band, whilst not all original members seemed to be playing it out as if it was ’77. This was proved with another two blistering tracks Insane Society and the brilliant C & A.
And I don’t give a toss if inflation is up or down
Just give me my Sky TV
All I want is my Ford Capri
And I’ll be happier that way”
I’m Civilised was dedicated, if I recall correctly, to the fine folk of Lewes. So F*ck You was up. Finn at this point slung his guitar round his neck, grabbed a mic stand and pointed into the crowd. Maybe for fear of loosing an eye or nerves the front rows initially backed off. They were soon back in position and jostling to join in with Noel and the band with the raucous chorus!
GLC was the last song of the set, or so we thought. Some familiar faces joined Menace on stage for a full on sing-a-long for this one. Talking to Finn after the set he reminded me of the Punk Picnic from last summer, which I think I missed for some reason. They quickly realised they were playing close to a swing park full of parents and their youngsters, words needed to be changed for a couple of songs and GLC was one that was up for a quick change of lyrics. Hilarious stuff.
The guys hadn’t finished with us just yet as Last Year’s Youth nailed it down for the last song. All that’s left to do now is enjoy recalling the songs we had heard, chat about the set, go grab a beer and go chat with some members of the band. Sadly I had not enough cash on me for some of the vinyl on offer – next time guys!
This was going to be a great gig tonight. Menace set the tone for the evening. Menace did not disappoint. I tell you what, it was bloody good fun. Come back soon!
Menace are on the WWW here.
The Big Blue Shed: A storming line up was promised at Lewes Con Club, the final event from local promotion team at The Big Blue Shed. That promise was well and truly delivered. A huge shout to them for some truly wonderful gigs they have put on over the last few years. Also much love from Scene Sussex to Fozzy for letting Scene Sussex in and capturing some truly memorable evenings, and best wished for your future ventures.
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All original pictures / video – copyright to IANB/MEDIA WORKS/ SCENE SUSSEX – Ian “The Lens” Bourn 2019.
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