LIVE REVIEW: Gimp Fist + LoGoZ + Zero Tolerance, Think Tank?, Newcastle, Sunday 8 March 2020
Sunday nights are a sedate affair for most people, especially when they have to get up for work on Monday morning. But when a gig by three bands as good as this comes along it would be rude not to go. It certainly beats staying in for Countryfile and Antiques Roadshow.
Rude Pride, a popular streetpunk band from Madrid, were originally meant to play on what was billed as their last tour. Sadly, they had to cancel due to family illness, though they are hoping to rearrange some dates later in the year so they can say a proper goodbye to their UK fans.
Stepping up to the plate in their place were Zero Tolerance, a North East band I’m becoming quite familiar with, and like more every time I see them.
They play a no-nonsense brand of political punk powered by a cracking Dead Kennedys-style guitar, with a real air of menace running right through their sound.
Opening proceedings with Enemy Of Me and Watching The TV from their first mini-album, they threw a couple of new songs which I hadn’t heard before, If You Hunt and Punk Police, into their all-too-brief half-hour set.
They’re excellent additions to their canon, and singer Graeme Kitto tells me the band are due to go into the studio to record some new material next month. I can’t wait to hear how it turns out, as they’re a cracking band who are starting to make a name for themselves.
Next up were LoGoZ, another local band, from Ashington. I’d seen them perform an acoustic set a week earlier supporting The Bar Stool Preachers, but this was very different.
Their melodic punk has a much harder edge to it when they’re amped up, and they’re another band on the verge of becoming much better known, mainly due to the fact they’re damn good and seem to be gigging non-stop.
Even playing without a bass player, they have an infectious, upbeat sound, and songs like Dead Or Living In America really hit the spot. They also gave an airing to new single Disgraceland, which is out on March 12 at all good download stores and as a three-track CD, and it’s well worth looking out for.
On to the main act then. Gimp Fist, from Bishop Auckland, are a band I fell hook, line and sinker for after catching them at Rebellion Festival back in 2012, and I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve seen them since – it was five last year alone.
I can honestly say I’ve never seen Jonny (guitar and vocals), Chris (bass) and Mike (drums) do a bad show, whether they’re playing for 100 people in a pub, or 3,000 on the main Empress Ballroom stage at Blackpool.
This was only their fourth gig this year, but they hit the ground running with the crowd-pleaser First In Line – one of their very best songs.
They released their seventh full-length album, Blood (reviewed here), last year, and the seven tracks they played from it made up about a third of their hour-long set, including some I don’t think I’d heard live before.
The title track now appears embedded in their set, as do Easy Target and The Fight In You, but it was good to hear one of my favourite tracks on the record, More Than An Army, live, and it didn’t disappoint.
Fan favourites weren’t forgotten; On & On appeared early in the set, and A Country Divided got the place moving, but not as much as their version of Swedish oi! band Perkele’s Heart Full Of Pride, which they have ‘made their own’, as those awful TV talent shows might say. It’s a good song, but given the Gimp Fist treatment it’s an absolute anthem which prompted a big singalong.
A couple of rarely-played songs received an airing too, Pick Up The Pieces, from their split single with Evil Conduct (whose T-shirt Jonny wore) and Think Again from 2010 album The Place I Belong.
The crowd knew all the words to those too, as Gimp Fist are the sort of band who inspire that sort of devotion. After a closing one-two of Top Dog and traditional closer Here I Stand (complete with Dougie) there was time for a quick encore of another of their anthems, Skinhead Not Bonehead before the curfew kicked in.
It was a great end to a night in the company of three bands right on top of their game, proving yet again that the punk rock scene in the North East is in rude health right now.