Gig Review: THE BERMONDSEY JOYRIDERS, The Black Heart, Camden, 8 April 2014

This was quite simply a brilliantly entertaining triple-header of power packed and swaggering punk pop. Officially, the launch of The Joyriders’ new single, each band played a set of seven songs in deference to the seven-inch black plastic platter of yore.

First up, The Healthy Junkies dished out a vibrant mix of stripped down Nirvana meets T-Rex and The Pixies down a dark alley. Powerful, breeze block-sized chunks of guitar from Phil Honey-Jones tore into the crowd and perfectly counterpointed the more refined vocals of Parisian front woman Nina Courson.

Visually the band were very strong and created a real buzz. Phil was never afraid to step on to the speaker riser and ram his guitar into the crowd. “C’mon!” he gestured. But the real star is Nina who’s intense performance saw her working the audience and dancing with bandmates, culminating in some writhing and pulsating moves sprawled on her back during the last compelling track.  Committed stuff.

How do you follow that? Well Bubblegum Screw gave it one hell of a shot. If anything the energy levels went up a notch. Health & Safety would have had kittens with five over-excited musicians jumping around the packed, tiny stage. This set was all about glam punk with Mark Thorn massively front and centre gyrating like Iggy Pop and pouting like Mick Jagger.

Heavily influenced by The Stooges and New York Dolls, this was a fast, sleazy and glitzy slam through splintering riffs and wah-wah solos that we’ve known and loved for years.  ‘Play Some Fucking Stooges’ and ‘Second Class Citizen’ from the new album ‘Filthy! Rich! Lolitas!’ went down particularly well. Hugely enjoyable.

This was all admirable preparation for the assault on the senses that The Bermondsey Joyriders invoked. The trio pitched up like Slade on steroids and blasted out a punk, psychedelic, raw blues mash up to warm the cockles.

The band have earned their spurs in various punk and rock outfits dating back to the late ‘70’s but found a unique look and sound here. Gary Lammin on guitar and Martin Stacey on bass still managed to appear cool despite orange tartan trousers, spangly primary coloured titfers and sideburns that make Lemmy’s look modest. Lammin is key to the big, infectious sound. He has melded dirty guitar riffs to a brutal bottle-neck slide lead not a million miles away from George Thorogood circa ‘Bad To The Bone’.

The double A-sided single went down well. Tongue in cheek ‘Brian Jones (Real True Leader of the Rolling Stones)’ brought a heavy core of ‘60’s r ‘n’ b to proceedings and ‘Jonny Thunders Was A Human Being’ was full of souped up ‘Brown Sugar’ riffs and grandstanding choruses. The set closer was an adrenaline fuelled ‘Geniune’ before the enthusiastic audience hoiked the band back for a monster encore. All too brief, but absolutely riotous.

Review by Dave Atkinson

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