LIVE REVIEW: The Warriors + Small Seeds, Black Bull, Gateshead, Friday 23 August 2019

The Warriors frontman Saxby in action at the Black Bull in Gateshead. Pic: Gary Welford.

I love seeing bands for the first time, and one of the best ways to do that is to keep an eye on the listings for your nearest grassroots venue.

For me that means a visit to me to my local punk pub, the Black Bull, just over the road from the Metro Interchange in Gateshead.

It has live music most weekends, and occasionally during the week too, and it hosts plenty of up and coming bands as well as circuit regulars.

This Friday night gig offered a bit of both, with oi! stalwarts The Warriors travelling all the way from Herne bay in Kent, while support band Small Seeds were venturing over the border for the first time from Cumnock in Ayrshire, Scotland.

Scottish punks Small Seeds were playing their first English gig at the Black Bull in Gateshead. Pic: Gary Welford.

Small Seeds were a name I hadn’t come across before, but the four-piece kick up an almighty full-throttle racket, and a most enjoyable one at that.

Their singer Rey, long-haired, clad in a kilt, and with a blue splodge on his forehead, looked straight out of Braveheart, but his mission here was a peaceful one.

Their 10-song set of full-throttle punk was a good appetiser for what was to come, even if some of the between-song banter was lost in translation – I thought Geordies have hard-to-understand accents!

Small Seeds singer Rey ‘giein’ it laldy’ at the Black Bull in Gateshead. Pic: Gary Welford.

I wondered what the letters F.T.S., taped onto the singer’s guitar, meant, and all was revealed as we were invited to sing along with their set-closer Fuck The System (I should have guessed really).

Small Seeds have just one single to their name, the double A-side Rejected/Lock Yer Doors, and both songs were played here. They’re busy recording a new EP, and on this evidence, it’ll be worth looking out for.

Time then for the main event, and, astonishingly, a gig which was the furthest north that The Warriors have ever played, despite being formed in 1981!

The gig at the Black Bull in Gateshead was the furthest north The Warriors have ever played. Pic: Gary Welford.

After a few technical problems, and the loan of an amp from Small Seeds, they’re ready to go, and they blaze through a 75-minute set of tough old-school streetpunk, very much in the mould of bands like The 4 Skins.

Frontman Saxby was the original singer with another Herne Bay oi! outfit, The Last Resort, and joined The Warriors in 1995. He’s the longest-serving member of the current line-up, as, like most bands of their vintage, they’ve been through a few changes.

Their latest album, These Streets Are Ours, came out this year on STEP-1 Music, and it’s the eighth official full-length release of their stop-start existence.

The Warriors at the Black Bull in Gateshead. Pic: Gary Welford.

It gave us five of the 19 songs which made up tonight’s set, with the pick of them being the excellent Rebellion Lost and the closing This Is My Anger.

Shit Town, from 2015’s Operation Oi! is another of the highlights, along with The Last Resort song Violence In Our Minds, late in the set.

If hard-edged music which promotes pride not prejudice is your thing, you’ll feel right at home in the company of The Warriors. I know I did.

The Warriors at the Black Bull in Gateshead. Pic: Gary Welford.
Gary Welford owner