Photo: Phil Breeden
Last Friday night I was asked to DJ at the wonderful Luminaire. Situated on London's exotic Kilburn High Road it's a small venue of great repute set amongst a sea of style and sophistication. (I'm working on the principal that most people reading this have never actually been to Kilburn!)
Anyway the occasion was the first London gig by a old band from the days of punk called Punishment of Luxury. I took some comfort in the fact that they too looked nothing like their pictures of the early days. Whereas I have avoided drawing attention to the difference between the young god-like figure I used to cut and the distinguished elder statesman of punk that I have become Punilux made, I feel, something of a faux pas in projecting their early band photos onto their backdrop as they played. This was an unfortunate then and now scenario and I think we all know that when the then was 30 years back the now does not tend to come out as well!
That said they were a wonderful bunch of guys and, musicwise, were tight, proficient and could certainly teach many bands I have seen recently a thing or two about set pacing, performance and communication. Needless to say they went down a storm with an adoring audience who were loving and warm and knew all the words. All power to them.
There was also a young Ealing band called Depot on the bill and I strongly recommend anyone to check them out. Drawing on the reggae/ska period of the late 70s, like The Members or The Ruts, they gave real pleasure. Their material was punchy and to the point and the band were tight, composed and excellent. Normally I'd pick out an individual to praise in such situations but in this case that would be unfair as every member of the four piece brought an intrinsic element to the whole. The keyboard player kicks in occasionally with a trumpet and this adds a slash of colour to the flow of their sound that is ear grabbing and immediate. I haven't enjoyed a new band as much since I heard Arctic Monkeys for the first time. Plus they'd just finished their A levels that day.
They were telling me that they had to play a second set and were worried that they didn't have enough material. Unfortunately I had to leave half way through the second set but not before I had been blown away by their dub stylings and their ability to improvise around their incredibly tight rhythm section. I hadn't seen anything like it since the last Members gig when we'd smoked enough weed to keep Kingston going for a week and stepped outta Babylon. I strongly recommend them to anyone.
As for me I was great. Playing a mainly punk/reggae set with a bit of NYC in 1980 thrown into the mix I was pleased to see how well all that stuff goes down. It still sounds fresh and vital and, to be honest, I don't think there's anything to touch a bit of roots reggae. Rockers time now!