Friday, 16 October 2009

Favourite Gig Fridays: The Ramones

Hey ho! Let's go! Hey ho! Let's Go!
It's a bitterly cold October night in 1987 and, unlikely as it may seem, New York cartoon Punks are rocking the grimy Hummingbird Club in downtown Birmingham. Birmingham UK that is...

The support bands ( Flesh For Lulu and the Sex Gods - who? ) have left the building, everyone's been to the bar and come back, the house lights go down and dry-ice fills the stage. A powerful drumroll starts up, the stage lights flash on, and there are da brudders Ramone, standing on top of the amps and powering into the instrumental, Durango 95.
And the crowd goes wild. Well, actually the crowd goes 100% batshit mental.

The Ramones speed through their set with no let-up between songs, only enough time to count in the next anthem: 1 2 3 4 Rockaway Beach! 1 2 3 4 Blitzkrieg Bop! 1 2 3 4 Too Tough To Die! 1 2 3 4 Sheena Is A Punk Rocker, you get the picture.....

I dive into the seething mass at the front with Ade, Mark, Jon and Steve - Christ, it's rough! And HOT! At one point I get knocked over and about 7 or 8 bodies fall on top of me, Ade hauls me back up, then we're both knocked over again. ( And we do this for fun?! ) All this frenzy is unsurprising: The Ramones are excellent, very together, very loud, still banging out the classics with a freshness unheard of in most bands of their longevity. They sing about being sedated, going to a rock 'n' roll high school and something about a warthog. Joey doesn't move much but looks demonic, Dee Dee pounds his bass like he's trying to kill it, Johnny is dressed for an undertakers' convention but churns out lightning-fast riffs, and the drummer (whatsisname) the drums. It's over all too soon, we call them back for a couple of encores, including Let's Dance, during which I get horribly mangled but just about emerge with all limbs intact. We stagger out into the freezing bloody cold Brum night, sweat and steam pouring off our knackered bodies, my hearing and voice shot to hell - a sure sign of a good gig :-)


Saranga said...

i always say it's not a proper gig unless you've been injured in some way!

cerebus660 said...

Wise words, Saranga!


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