LIVE REVIEW: Zero Tolerance + Force Fed Lies, The Black Bull, Gateshead, Saturday 7 December 2019

Zero Tolerance at the Black Bull. Pic: Gary Welford.

Another Saturday night and another trip to the Black Bull, just a couple of miles from home, to see two local bands who I’ve seen lots of flyers for of late.

Make no mistake, despite what the mainstream music media might tell you, punk is most certainly not dead. In fact, it’s thriving at grassroots level thanks to nights like this.

The Black Bull is typical of small venues all over the UK, where landlords and promoters are giving bands somewhere to play, at a time when so many venues have disappeared.

Rebellion Festival in Blackpool might be the weekend of the year which grabs the attention, as the tourists come out with their cameras to catch the punks in all their finery.

But it’s nights like this which provide a platform for bands to appear at such an event. And I’m pleased to say, with our country never more divided, that many of these grassroots bands are political. that certainly applies to tonight’s two bands.

First up were Force Fed Lies, a three-piece from South Tyneside who’ve been doing the rounds for a while, but  I’d never seen until six weeks ago. I’ve made up for lost time, as this was the third time since then that I’ve seen them, and they’ve played a few more gigs than that.

Force Fed Lies at the Black Bull. Pic: Gary Welford.

I like them more every time I see them, really warming to their 77 punk-meets-Discharge style, and steady gigging means new drummer Kev is now bedded in nicely alongside guitarist Carlton and bassist Steve, who share vocal duties.

Their 10-song set was again their debut album Begging For Change (get it and their other merch from their Facebook page here), played in a different order, and this time the opener Bibles And Bombs and Eye For An Eye which stood out from the rest.

Force Fed Lies at the Black Bull. Pic: Gary Welford.

Tonight’s headlines were Zero Tolerance, a band from County Durham who I hadn’t seen before. They’ve only been together about a year, but the members are gig-hardened due to time in other bands.

They describe themselves as a street-punk band, and to my old ears they sound like an updated version of old-school oi! bands like The Last Resort and The 4 Skins.

Zero Tolerance at the Black Bull. Pic: Gary Welford.

The line-up is Graeme Kitto on vocals, Guy Clark on guitar, Ian Kinsman on bass and Jim Atteridge on drums, and they make a very good noise indeed.

As far as I can tell they have just the one release to their name, a self-titled seven-track mini album on the Research & Destroy label, which you can get at their gigs or from their bandcamp page here.

It’s a limited edition of 300 copies, so I wouldn’t hang about.

All seven tracks received an airing during their set, and my favourites were the bass-driven Watching The TV, which has a real air of foreboding, Brotherhood, about the punk scene, and their closing Champagne Charlie Wankers, which needs no explanation really.

Zero Tolerance at the Black Bull. Pic: Gary Welford.

Their set extended to 15 tracks in all, which suggests there’s plenty more fuel in their tank, with songs like Fuck the Politicians and My God’s Bigger Than Yours particularly hitting the spot.

Hopefully with so many unrecorded songs under their belt it won’t be long before we hear more from Zero Tolerance, and I, for one,  can’t wait.

Zero Tolerance at the Black Bull. Pic: Gary Welford.
Gary Welford owner