So here I am the god damned illustrator writing a review, why you ask? Well that’s because my reviewer hasn’t turned up. Guess I’d better write this one seeing as an article with pictures and no text isn’t very helpful to anyone. Screw em’ I’m going to see Conflict and I’ll try my best to draw this review with words. I Know the importance of covering events like this, as media outlets often portray punks as bad people to try and shatter their credibility which couldn’t be further from the truth, this was just as much protest as it was performance and it even ended early at around 9:30 with the final message on the projector being “pick up your rubbish guys” I witness what was a battle zone change into a litter picking fest. Nice one guys. Shove that right up your preconceptions world!
The aptly named Trespass took place on the beach of the Thames in the shadow of the OXO Tower. The perfect point in today’s London to juxtapose the capitalist sky high rent and swiftly gentrifying London. Forcing London’s venues to shut down will not stop the revolt, good music will always find a way to let itself be heard. Taking over the Thames has become somewhat of a punk pin up, the Sex Pistols famously taking to the water to share the message with the rest of the rat race.
On the bill tonight were Shot who I unfortunately missed but was reprimanded for doing so because they were “well good” according to a random I asked. Next up were The Restarts who were distortion city and sick as always. Finally Conflict fresh from a tour of the states, playing to sold out crowds. They take to the Thames-side crowd spitting out truth and fucking the lies. Channeling aggression and venting frustration into a stand. With machine gun sounding bass guitar and venom spat vocals more than just music this is activism.
Despite being a Conflict fan, I have never had the pleasure of catching them live due to unforeseen circumstances, gigs getting pulled for reason out of the bands control. The last gig at the London Astoria was pulled because the venue shut down. It was going to be the last ever punk festival at the venue. But despite all this on this beach in Waterloo, the universe has finally aligned and it smells like sweat, hairspray and vitriol.
Before I could enjoy any of this though I first had to find the place, advertised as taking place in a secret location in Waterloo I had only my own detective skills to rely on. Looking at clues on the flyer, which had a picture of the OXO Tower on, I thought I’d head there first, looking out for punks on the way to follow. Only when i arrive am I informed that the location of the show had been put online earlier, just before the show kicked off and I could have saved myself a fair amount of headache.
The first thing to draw my attention through the sea of mohwaks, is a banner that reads ‘only the state is guilty’. Alone we are nothing but together we stand strong, this time fighting to keep public space from being privatised every punk I know seems to be here, and it’s time to party!
I wade through the quicksand to find a spot at the front. On my way there I catch a flying elbow in the neck, but it does not deter this reviewer from his mission. The great thing about punk shows is the level of respect the crowd has for each other, I fall down at one point in a domino land slide of bodies, everyone helps each other up to carry on before we all sink into the sand as if nothing happened.
The PA was tiny and cranked up to the max (11) adding a layer of distortion to the vocals, not necessarily a bad thing for those who like their punk dirty. Between each band Mark Thomas appears on the projector screen broadcasting facts about the protest.
This is real punk, warts, scabs and all, none of that watered down pop punk bullshit. Real music that stands for something not a fashion statement for the cool kids. The phrase “punk is dead” comes to mind, but as long as bands like this still exist punk is more alive than ever, fighting the good fight against the pig fuckers in charge.
When the first few chords of ‘Mighty and superior‘ started I was completely stoked as I’d been singing it in my head all day. The crowd chanting the intro gave me chills. The song drops and then the crowd explodes. It ends with ‘Which ever way you want‘, the crowd chant along as the set comes to an end, “Liberate, Liberate, Liberate”. My shoes are filled to the brim with sand, my belly full of beer and my heart full of Punk. What a great show!!
This is Jason the god damned illustrator Signing off.
This amazing event was put together by Punk Ethics and you can find the petition to stop the bridge project here: http://www.tcos.org.uk/sign-the-petition
Next time send me a damn writer so I can put my pencil to page instead of taking to the keyboard and set to drawing the awesome spectacle.
Words by Jasons Haggard Faces.