The Boys came together when singer/guitarist Matt Dangerfield left the punk band London SS in September 1975 to form a new band with ex-Hollywood Brats keyboard player Casino Steel. Dangerfield’s art college friend, guitarist Honest John Plain, was recruited and in June 1976, two of Plain’s co-workers at a T-shirt printing company, bassist Duncan “Kid” Reid and drummer Jack Black, completed the line-up. Steel (ex-Hollywood Brats) and Dangerfield played in the London SS together. The band’s early recordings were made in a home recording studio which Dangerfield had set up in his rented basement apartment in Maida Vale.
The band played their first concert at the Hope and Anchor pub in Islington, London on 15 October 1976. Among the crowd were Mick Jones, Billy Idol, Tony James and Gene October. After a few concerts, The Boys signed to NEMS in January 1977, and at that time the only British punk band to have a record deal – the Sex Pistols having been sacked by EMI on 6 January 1977 and the Damned having initially signed a one single deal with Stiff for New Rose, which had been released in October 1976.
The current line up has three original members, playing tonight in Lewes there were two.
The Boys: The Band
Matt Dangerfield – guitars, vocals and cool aviators…
Casino Steel on keys, vocals and sporting a rather cool Boys T
Latest recruit is Kent Norberg, bass guitar and vocals and sporting everything in a matching black…
Kent had told us a couple of songs in that Honest John was unable to make it. That was a shame, have met him a couple of times now and lucky to have seen him play in town. I understand he was not well – so some warm wishes speeding to you John.
Chips Kiesbye was on guitar tonight, with hair, lots of hair…
On drums tonight was Martin H-Son. Sadly, as with all the bands tonight, getting a shot of the drummer was nigh on impossible as there was no lighting for that section of the stage. The broken fitting and wire dangling above Martins head were testament to that! Sorry Martin, I never forget the drummer, next time!
Soda Pressing – The Set!
Now, in my humble opinion dear reader, The Boys should have been “It”. Finely crafted songs, some great releases, some big tours and that included a tour with The Ramones with the release of the second album, Alternative Chartbusters. Da Brudders were fans of The Boys. I am the proud owner of two slices of vinyl from The Boys and sight of the set list lit my fuse! Oh my – the songs were all there!
We were kicked into action tonight with TCP, how damn sweet it sounded. This one allowed the guys to warm up those guitar playing hands. Now TCP, I can still remember the smell of the stuff from years ago! If you don’t know what it is – go google it!
TCP it cured my acne, TCP it left me pimple free…hey!
Johnny, Joey, Tommy, Dee Dee, TCP will leave you pimple free…hey!
TCP it cured my acne, TCP it left me pimple free…hey!(Plain)
A wonderful triple tracker served up next as vocal duties were swapped around, See Ya Later, Terminal Love and 1976. These guys know how to deliver. This was exciting straight down the barrel punk rock and roll. I realised pretty quickly we were witnessing a punk masterclass. We were in for a treat, over an hour of heads-down, no-nonsense, boogie laden punk rock and roll.
The Steel, Dangerfield & Plain written songs from The Boys are short, wonderfully crafted nuggets of life but always a strong backing tune that will get your foot tapping. More fine examples followed Weekend, USI, I’m A Believer (from their latest album PUNK ROCK MENOPAUSE), and the brilliant Cop Cars. Matt dropped some pure Boys class riffs tonight, and his guitar playing rocked us with Cop Cars and the anthemic chorus. And Kent matched the bass demands of this song perfectly. The song ends with the Cas on his keys and those guitars replicating police sirens. The packed in crowd were charging up, there was much dancing and fist pumping with some of this wonderful material tonight, and it was getting hot in there.
It is sad to think that The Boys did not achieve that mythical status, but they rightly deserve the handle of Legendary. The Boys remind us that there is nothing quite like a deliciously loud shot of UK punk/rock to give us gathered at the Con Club a taste of how things used to be.
Ok, back to the blistering set with You Can’t Hurt A Memory, No Money, and Soda Pressing. Soda Pressing was one of many highlights for me, I always loved this one and again those guitar riffs from Matt and Chips cut through the air, generating a steam heated reaction from the crowd who were now well up for it.
Tumble With Me ( I told you it was one helluva set list!), Do The Contract Hustle and Global Warming ensured there was no rest for the band or the crowd. This was sugar coated adrenaline fuelled punk at its best. The super bass thunder from Kent and that drumming of Martin worked effortlessly and made it look easy for those guitars and keys to come together booming it out in Lewes. And all the while the assault continued with ear melting brief but brutally brilliant guitar bursts from Matt.
Back to the first second album The Boys put out as Martin hit the familiar drum pattern of Brickfield Nights. The song is packed solid with great vocals from the guys, and yes some razor sharp edged licks from Matt and Chips with hooks aplenty. A check of the watch indicated that all good things must come to an end.
The Boys: The First Time, please be kind…
Here it is, arguably one of the finest songs you will ever hear. The First Time was fired up. A wonderful song about the loss of….. ah, sorry dear reader, go listen and discover for yourself if you haven’t heard it! Now if you were itching for a good pogo, now would be good! I never get tired of this song and hearing it live was definitely yet another gig highlight for me. I have seen Honest John do this acoustic, and the song is part of original bassist Duncan Reids set with his band The Big Heads.
To close the set we had two songs forming the encore Living’ In The City, and the delightful Sick On You. Was I satisfied? Oh yes. What a fix! Maybe Jimmy Brown could have had an airing? The Boys are not so much a punk band but they are a loud rock and roll band, rocket fuelled by a pure punk energy. The music and live performances are buoyed by so many anthem worthy songs. You only have to hear everybody screaming their lungs out with The First Time to see what I mean. The band depart with a well deserved cheer from the crowd as they took a final bow at the front of the stage.
The Boys ignited tonight’s excited crowd and sent us into a hot and sweaty frenzy. Matt, Cas & John wrote those Boys classics and they have stood the test of time and sound as fresh, exciting and as important as they did when I first heard them. Congratulations to them for creating such wonderful slices of music. Hopefully The Boys will continue to tour. They certainly proved tonight there is still fuel in the tank. The Boys, are for those who like their rock n roll short, sweet and fired up. They have an unrelenting energy you do not want to miss. Seriously, what’s not to like!
The Boys are on the Internet here.
Thank you to Steve Metcalfe.
Presented by 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 wishes for your future ventures. You can find them on Facebook here.
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