The UKSUBS are a band I have enjoyed for ages but never seemed to get the timing right to catch a live set. Tonight I was going to set that right!
So glad I got a chance to meet up with Charlie Harper and grab a quick chat. He is so generous with his time, a rare quality these days. We have passed each other so many times at gigs around Brighton and Sussex and managed a quick “hello”. Photo clearance etc all sorted and Charlie asked if I had one of those phones with a constant bright light, I said no, and he said good as sometimes they are really bright and, I have to agree, can dazzle you and at times be quite painful if you look directly at it.
He was chilled and relaxed just sitting and chatting. He really is age defying, he looked brilliant tonight and was in great form as he chatted and laughed with friends and concert go-ers. What a gent.
The previous band had not arrived for some reason, ah these things happen, its rock n roll! The London based outfit SNIDE had delivered a good strong performance and set the tone for the night perfectly. The lights dimmed, turned red, the smoke machine kicked in and we were away as Charlie and The UK SUBS took to the stage.
The Subs are a band I have liked and enjoyed for ages but never seemed to get the timing right to catch a live set from them. The incredible UK Subs career has produced so many great songs and those we were given tonight, well, ALL of them still sound just as great as they did back in the day, powerful and fizzing with energy and a punk snarl. The songs, like the singer, haven’t aged a bit and stood the test of time. Mr Charlie Harper stood center stage clutching the mic stand in one hand and a can of beer in the other.
Steve Straughan is a great guitarist and fits in so well. When he plays you could be mistaken for thinking you were listening to two guitarists, and it was great to catch up with him after the show. The last time I saw him he was standing on my shoulders at Concorde 2 playing bass with the Angelic Upstarts. On bass was Alvin Gibbs, dressed in a white zipper jacket, looking on point and delivered some damn fine fret work, he beat the hell out of his bass. The man at the back was, well I think it was Jamie Oliver, who for most of the set was sadly lost in the over enthusiastic fog machine mixing with the lights. He might not have been visible,but he was certainly audible! What a top performance from him, so much power and providing that link with the extraordinary bass playing from Alvin.
UKSUBS: The Set
Some of the songs performed included ( Thanks Steve for the full listing!), kicking off proceedings with “Emotional Blackmail”. Charlie powered up and if this was going to be the level of intensity for the rest of the set then we were in for one helluva ride! “Kicks” and “Left For Dead” quickly followed up with “Rockers”. Charlie seeing someone with one of the phone cameras I mentioned earlier with the bright light, headed over and reached into his pocket. He pulled out a small, but bright, torch, set it to strobe flash and pointed it straight at the mobile phone camera! Brilliant, and great to see Charlie having fun. He saw me filming a clip, and tried to hide behind the mic stand, a huge grin on his face he stepped back. This IS Charlie Harper at his best and engaging with the crowd.
The might and power of UK SUBS on display as “ROCKER” is fired at us at 100 mph! Charlie delivering the message to Keep Music Live!
Other songs included “Barbies Dead”, “Party in Paris”, “Riot” and some new songs from their latest album release called “Ziezo”. We were so lucky, as one of the guest support bands hadn’t made it and so to make up for it we had an extended UK SUBS set. The guys piled at us with everything they had for nearly 1 hour and 30 minutes. Charlie bounced to every song, got mixing it with the crowd, whilst Steve climbed onto the drum kit. The band seemed to be having the time of their lives. Each song seemed to kick the band up a notch for the next one. Charlie passing the mic into the crowd for a sing/chant a-long, and with that ever youthful twinkle in his eye. I think he had a riot of a time. The crowd loved every second, it got a bit lively down the front as fans were fueled by the power of what was being played – and the band played up to that.
What a night! The band left the stage, the smoke started to clear and those left standing in the crowd gave a huge cheer and started to make their way out of Patterns. Hot, sweaty and happy. A photo shoot was called for both bands, and so happy to share this one of SNIDE and UK SUBS.
The UK SUBS and SNIDE – apres show.
And in the crowd was Jordan, yep – I know! So many personalities had come to see the show and was a treasured moment to finally meet her. Jordan Mooney had a pivotal role at the very heart of the birth of the punk world and creation alongside Vivienne Westwood and Malcolm McLaren and influenced the look of bands like the Sex Pistols and Adam and the Ants. She’s often seen in old black and white photos, but tonight she was here and photo’d with Charlie Harper in full colour! A delightful lady and a real joy to meet. Jordan has been doing some fabulous live Q&A sessions and I fully recommend going to see her if she stops near you!
Charlie Harper and Jordan Mooney
Charlie Harper. What a gent. What a legend – there, I have used the “L” word! He totally deserves it. Long may you continue to kick it and raise hell!
The UK SUBS are on Facebook
The UK SUBS are on the WWW
The night was hosted by We Love the Big Blue Shed – and they are on Facebook
Patterns in Brighton is on Facebook
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