A night of varied punk upholds the Earth Fair spirit and purpose and provides some great sounds despite the less than stellar turnout.
After a busy couple of weeks at The Fermain Tavern it seemed things might be returning to how they were a few months ago as Alderney’s Shambollix took to the stage to start tonight’s Vale Earth Fair fundraiser in front of a crowd of certainly no more than 20 people.
Despite this Derrick and Helen, who may be familiar to some as half of Rawcuz Crowzz, gave the set their all mixing the ‘blues’ of the ‘Thames Delta’ (inspired by the likes of Dr Feelgood) with the spirit of the pub rock and punk scenes of the mid 1970s.
Playing a selection of original songs, some of which were familiar from the Crowzz and others new to this band, they put in a performance which was much more together than when I had previously seen them play (under the name Crash ‘n’ Slide) and at times got heads nodding in appreciation of the stripped down lo-fi DIY approach the duo displayed.
Their sound came across like White Stripes if they were a pub rock act with the true spirit of making the most of what you have to make the kind of music you want to make.
As Guernsey’s own original hardcore punks Insurrection took to the stage a few more had made their way into the venue and, though the crowd was still small, it had added enough to the atmosphere in the Tavern to give the gig a good feeling.
With their second gig in as many months (prompting frontman Mark Le Page to comment, “Twice in one year!”) Insurrection came across much more intense and tight from the start tonight.
With the same mix of songs from their 1989 self-titled album and a couple of new numbers that we heard last time they played (when supporting Peter and the Test Tube Babies) the band tonight seemed more relaxed with Jon Langlois’ mix of classic buzzsaw style punk guitar and heavier playing working well alongside Mark’s vocals which keep the hardcore spirit alive while also clearly infused with elements of the darker metal sounds he has made since Insurrection first disbanded.
Once again I was left hoping that this isn’t the last we see of Insurrection this year as they are something different to anyone else in music in Guernsey today and always seem to get the crowd going.
Finally tonight it was London’s Inner Terrestrials’ turn to take to the stage.
As my personal highlight of last year’s Vale Earth Fair I was greatly looking forward to their punk-ska sounds and sociopolitical lyrics and from the start they didn’t disappoint and it didn’t take long for some of the small but enthusiastic crowd to get the dancefloor skanking.
Despite a slight lull in the middle of the set, Inner Terrestrials played a great show tonight, though it was clear at points the small crowd was making it hard for the band to play off the energy in the room in the way they had done one the Earth Fair’s main stage last summer.
Once again the Vale Earth Fair tonight presented a night of great music which had a real sense of some of the things the Collective stands for and, while many missed out on a great night, for those of us in attendance we got to experience a top underground UK punk band.