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Gig Report: Punk Night @ Tank, St Helens

There are few things in life that can destress me more effectively than going to a gig, getting some drinks in and blowing off some steam. Also, there's no better genre for that than punk rock. Fast, visceral and wild, bands in this genre always deliver at these smaller venues. When the music is cranked up to eleven and the crowd is into it there is no better place to be than a punk gig. So, it was really cool that that exact gig was happening in my hometown. I've talked about Tank before and yeah it's a great place for shows, it's an intimate venue and always puts on great nights with independent bands and artists. So, whenever I go, I know I can usually expect to walk away with some new names and music to immediately look up, stream and buy. The stage was set and with people filing in, the night was set to begin.

Opening the proceedings was the weird and wonderful Faniel Dord. The surrealist singer-songwriter took his position on stage and continued to put on one of the strangest and most entertaining performances I've seen in a while. How to describe the sound of the set? I would say it was a combination of surrealist-comedy, prop-comedy and easy-listening music. Every motion he made and every bit of line delivery was designed to get a reaction out of the audience. Which was pretty refreshing for a singer-songwriter. The music was smooth and well balanced, which was perfectly counterbalanced by the strange (and often psychotic) lyrics. You could just tell that he was having a blast as he pranced around the venue, singing with such glee in his voice. The prop-work was excellent too and he showed pinpoint comedic timing. There were moments of pure shock value in the show. Again, anything to get a reaction out of the audience. I was truly impressed by Faniel Dord, I immediately bought his music on the spot. Great music, delivered in such an entertaining way and well worth your time if you get the chance. 

Next on stage was the dynamic and intense, Three From Above. Straight away, they were on top form, bringing the fast-paced intensity with a tight rhythm and well-executed riffs. I loved the great vocal dynamics of coming from both the guitarist and the bassist. They bounced off of each other really well, so the songs were consistently fresh and interesting. This set was all about that intense rhythm and keeping the set flowing. The bass locked in with the drums making for a hefty sounding bassline to the songs. All the while the guitar riffs and licks were sharp and distinct. They had a real charm to their crowd banter as well, engaging the crowd wherever they could. For me, it was all about the small details that they added to make the songs more interesting to listen to. Sometimes, punk can be so cut 'n' dry but Three From Above really made that effort to make their music stand out. An excellent performance from a really damn good band.

My oh my, where do I start with Red Winter. The Liverpool based punk act rocked up and completely nailed this set and I was immediately loving the sound. They were everything a good punk act should be, entertaining, engaging and in your face. By this point, the bar was filling up and the atmosphere was fantastic for this sort of music. With people jumping and crowding around the band. There was barely any space for the band to move around but I don't think anyone cared, this was just too much fun. The sharp guitar tone was great for the fast-paced rhythm. The vocalist was fantastic, he really engaged the audience and had a giant smile on his face all the way through the set. Like I say, if the band looks like they're having a good time, then the crowd is more likely to enjoy themselves. They certainly accomplished that. The one moment that stuck with me was their cover of "Hero" by Enrique Iglesias. This was a well executed and very enjoyable part of the set. Obviously designed to get people singing along with them, well it worked, as I was singing this one with a big ol' smile on my face. I really liked this set and this band in general. It was feel-good punk music played with enthusiasm and energy. I highly recommend checking them out.

Now it was time for the finale. Capping off this great evening, was the ever-awesome Last Reserves. This was just the best way to end this evening. This band is always filled with vibrancy and passion. On top of that, it was Matt Bonnell's (Bassist) birthday celebration so yeah, this was going to get messy. I really loved this set, the band showed ferocity and intensity from the first moments. Just blasting out tune and tune. The sound was very direct and to the point with fast rhythm sections and no signs of slowing down throughout the whole thing. They just kept right on playing. Vocalist, Alice Nancy was a delight to watch as she was screaming and jumping around like a woman possessed. The set was just blur of harsh guitars, booming bass and crashing drums. The crowd created a fantastic atmosphere to be a part of and you could tell it meant the world to the band as you could wipe that smile off their faces if you tried. Ending the set on their cover of the punk classic "Sonic Reducer" by The Dead Boys, the band brought their set to a chaotic close. 

This was an excellent night of live music. All of the acts put on a top-notch performance that commanded attention.  I loved every second of this gig from the weirdness of Faniel Dord, the tight and focused music of Three From Above, the fun of Red Winter and the ferocious attitude of Last Reserves, this gig delivered in full. The rip-roaring music was enjoyable, the band bands were filled with personality and the crowd really made this an excellent environment to be in. Another winner of a show in Tank bar for me.


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