GDFAF #12: Rancid / GBH (7/11/6)
Bah, Academy. By which I mean ‘expression of disgust, this gig is in the main room of The Academy’ rather than ‘pseudo-phonetic transcription of The Bar Academy.’ That’s a different venue.
This time it was only a three band bill and I still missed the first act despite arriving at a reasonable time. I’m considering writing an addendum to the General Theory of Relativity in which time is dilated by frequency of gigs attended.
I didn’t find out that GBH were playing until earlier on in the day. I’d bought my ticket for this gig a long time before, so that was a very nice ‘free gift,’ so to speak. I’m not a huge GBH fan, of course, but I do like the odds and ends I’ve heard (jut the more famous bits, really) and looked forward to seeing them. Live they were pretty much as you’d expect them to be – simple, anthemic, heads-down-and-charge punk fun with a few bits of squiggly lead guitar added for no obvious reason. I don’t think I’d enjoy going to see them every week, but they were enjoyable there and then.
Anyone who doesn’t already know/have an opinion on Rancid by this point in time probably isn’t likely to get around to getting one, no matter who says what about them (not that this presents a problem in any way, I’m not the sort of person who would fall out with someone because they don’t like/haven’t heard of this or that band). As far as I’m concerned, they have a great enough cannon of songs to say that to make it a good gig they only really need to turn up and start/stop playing at roughly the same times. Add the energy and enthusiasm that they bring to it all and you’re onto a clear winner.
With this in mind, aside from really enjoying the tuneage on offer the mind begins to wander. The extent to which ‘place’ plays a part in their music is something that really stuck out this time, mainly through the introductions – “This song is about a street in Berkley, California…” “This song is about a place in Los Angeles…” etc etc etc. Even the cover of Braggy’s ‘To Have And To Have Not’ (acoustic, rather than punked up, which seems a bit pointless. The real thing is playing at this venue next month, why would we need Rancid to do a faithful version?) was introduced as being a song about “Being a working class kid in a working class neighbourhood.” I’d never really considered it that way – I’d always thought it was a song about Thatcherism, not any specific geographical division (although I can see what they’re saying). I suspect a serious analysis of their lyrics wouldn’t turn up anything too interesting, but it’s an interesting look into how they view it all themselves.
Anyway, yes. ‘Radio,’ ‘Timebomb,’ ‘Nihilism,’ ‘Ruby Soho,’ ‘Journey To The End Of East Bay,’ ‘Bloodclot,’ – loads of the songs that you want to hear. A few more from ‘Life Won’t Wait’ than the last time they did a proper tour over here, too, which gets the hurrah from me.
The background projections also intrigued me, not least because I didn’t actually realise there were any to begin with (I couldn’t see the back wall from where I was standing at the beginning). Footage of military helicopters, fair enough, Frankenstein, fair enough, some horse racing…. Eh?
~ Russ L, also about to buy Donna Tartt’s ‘The Secret History’ as a result of this gig. I’ll leave that cryptic.