Been awhile since I went to a live music event as I have been too busy spending all my money on records and CDs but when I saw these guys were going to play a gig locally, I thought this was an opportunity not to miss, especially as I had missed some of the other 80's hardcore punk bands that had played here in recent times, GBH being one that springs to mind.
The Exploited were one of the first of the hardcore English punk bands that I discovered soon after discovering the original first wave of punk bands like the Buzzcocks, The Sexpistols and Stiff Little Fingers.
I had a copy of The Exploited "Punks Not Dead" LP that got quite a hammering on my mums stereo(much to her disgust), whilst studying for my end of year exams when I was 15. Also it was a source of great amusement a few years later when flatting with a school friend who used their "Fuck the USA" as his morning wakeup alarm.
I was quite surprised to see these old hardcore bands still touring after 30 years or more in the business although I was aware that The Exploited had been releasing records right up till 2002 and I had even reviewed one of these later LP's on this very Blog.
I arrived at the venue alone(don't really know anyone else mad enough to attend one of these shows)soon after doors opened and with drink in hand enjoyed watching the types of people this gig turned up. First thing I was surprised to notice was some younger punters all punked up just like they did 30+ years ago, spiked mohawks and all the rest, where as the older folks weren't quite so radical in their maturity, most of them still looked pretty punky, but mainly because of all the tattoos and the T-shirts sporting their favourite punk bands. I was wondering how many of these old punks were involved in the big punk Riot of 84'(I Think) When a large number of Punks went on a window smashing spree in the center of town one night. Actually Christchurch has quite a number of Skinheads back in those days. Anyhow, The venue started to fill and buy 9pm was getting pretty full as the Support band came on. I don't recall their name but they were pretty good and did a good cover of A Flux Of Pink Indian's Neu Smell/Tube Disaster, one of my all time punk anthems. They played for about 30 minutes as the venue continued to fill and then the wait while they sound checked for The Exploited.
The wall of noise that is The Exploited, exploded out of the small but very loud PA system as Wattie, still resplendent in his bright red mohawk but supporting a very 50 something beer belly, bounds onto the stage, says something totally unintelligible in his Glaswegian accent and launches screaming into the first song.
I am a bit ambivalent about the rest of the concert, in that although the volume wasn't extreme in this small venue, the PA was pretty distorted, the guitar riffing was sometimes difficult to make out in amongst the pounding drums and thundering bass, which made it difficult to actually recognise some of the songs that I was familiar with and Wattie is just a real screamer live and I hardly understood a thing he sang or said all night except for the obvious cuss words, of which there was plenty. There were however some good guitar breaks that were discernible.
In saying that though, I soon found myself caught up in the pure adrenalin of this music and managed to get center of the area just behind the moshpit where I just really got into the wall of sound assaulting my ears, it was quite an excellent time and was even better when I actually did recognise some of my old favourites. They did play some of the songs from that first album I loved so much as a youngster and the crowd was particularly vocal when they finally did play the aforementioned "Fuck The USA". So, actually a pretty good gig and I am very glad I did go, I had a good time.
I must say it is surprising these bands coming all the way round the world to play in a dingy pub in a small city at the bottom of the world, the venue probably only holds about 300 and it was not quite full, so not exactly a big money making exercise, but I am glad they do and small venues like that are the best way to see a band instead of some huge stadium where the musicians are miles away(says the man with tickets to see Black Sabbath next year). Below are a coupe of short videos I made at the gig.