LIVE REVIEW: Los Fastidios + Bolshy + The Long Game + The Crash Mats, 1 in 12 Club, Bradford, Saturday 16 November 2019
Los Fastidios are an Italian anti-fascist streetpunk/Oi! band who have been on the go since 1991.
Their greatest hits CD from 2016 (25 Rebel Years) captures their street punk/ska/political credentials over the last three decades.
Tonight’s show at Bradfords 1-12 Club represented not only the political beliefs of the band, but also the long-standing anarcho/anti-fascist/anti-sexist/anti-homophobic principles of the venue.
Tonight’s show got underway with Oldham ska-thrash trio The Crash Mats, though their set had to be cut short due to a missing bit of PA kit.
As the band lingered on stage waiting for the green light, one of the organisers announced to the crowd that they would improvise by turning the monitors round! Not sure how this solved the problem, but it got the Crash Mats into full throttle.
Sound-wise the band do a speed-induced mash-up of ska, thrash and punk which reminds me a little of Pizzatramp (who adorned the drummer’s T-shirt). Their songs are light-hearted observations of life – one about overdoing it on Greggs pasties, and another a cover version of Chucklemania by the Chuckle Brothers!
Next up were The Long Game, a four-piece ska-punk band from Sittingbourne in Kent. Now here’s a band to watch out for.
They’re full of energy, drive and passion, and are all clearly competent musicians. The vocals are shared by the bass player and trombonist – the latter being one of the finest brass players I’ve ever seen. He has a fantastic set of lungs to make suhc a beautiful noise!
Unfortunately TLG’s set started off with only instrumentals and no vocals due to the ongoing PA problems. Just when it was starting to remind me of all those DIY gigs from the ’80s, the vocal channels and mikes suddenly appeared and sparked into life.
And what a difference! They did their first song again, this time with vocals, and this band are going places – think a ska version of Northumberland’s finest, China Drum). I’d recommend checking them out before they become superstars.
The third band of the night were Liverpool’s Bolshy. Their stage presence is quite breathtaking given it consists of seven members ( four men and three women, with the latter on saxophone, trombone and lead vocals). It reminded me of seeing Crass for the first time, due to the limited space for such a large band.
It’s also the first time I’ve ever seen a six-stringed bass guitar! Sound wise, their mix of indie, punk, noise and emo is difficult to describe, but each track is carefully crafted on so many levels.
The bass in particular is noteworthy, as were the two brass players, who very central to every tune, and very animated. The sax player needs special mention, as when she wasn’t grooving behind the lead singer, screaming along to every word. Impressive.
And then it was time for the headline act, Los Fastidios, who were formed in Verona, Italy, way back in 1991, though only singer Enrico is an original member.
This gig was part of a short UK tour, which also included a set the following day at Morecambe Punk festival, and as a warm-up show it was perfect.
What we got was a blistering mix of skanking-punk-skinhead-reggae with the occasional metal/bass-heavy riff as the band played through a best of the last 28 years of their tunes.
Near the end of their set they were joined by Elisa Dixan, who added petrol to a band already on fire. Her presence sent the band – and the audience – to a higher level of ska-punk-influenced heaven.
It was a joy to see band and audience skanking along to their anti-fascist/pro-solidarity anthems in such a small, intimate venue.
Speaking of which, the standout track for me was Joy Joy Joy with its catchy chorus about the devil being in you.
But overall, the set by Los Fastidios tonight shows that punk/political music doesn’t have to be performed with a dour expression, and that protest songs can be played with joy and verve which has as much integrity and meaning as any black-clad ensemble!
As Los Fastidios may say: Antifa ya basta!