UK Subs site

UK Subs, Bedford Esquires. June 2008

It's a great testimony to the draw of the UK Subs that they can still muster a fair crowd, albeit it in the arse end of nowhere. Bedford Esquires is a regular gig venue housed in the upstairs of an old brick building in the town centre. If Iggy Pop is the godfather of punk, then Charlie Harper must be the favourite Uncle. Over the years I have seen the UK Subs about 20 times, and I have found that the strength of the band very much relies on the band's ever changing line up. Tonight the line up is Charlie Harper, Alvin Gibbs, Jet on guitar, and Jamie on drums. Charlie Harper leaps up on stage with a big smile on his face. I spoke to him earlier, and he seemed in good spirits. They go straight into it, and deliver us all the favourites such as Stranglehold, Endangered Species, Teenage, etc. Standing in front of Alvin Gibbs' bass monitor, I could hear what a difference he made, and the whole wall of sound coming off the stage was pure UK Subs at their best. Jet - the Japanese guitarist - posed, postured and pouted with his mad bouffant ice cream cone hairstyle. He may be not to be Nicky Garratt but he's the best guitarist the Subs have had in years. The crowd of ageing punks and rockers responds, and soon the front of the stage is full of fist clenching drunks singing along to Born A Rocker Die A Rocker. The floor is covered in beer and bodies and Charlie is in his element. Of course we get Warhead, but today without the handclaps and thankfully Charlie had forgotten to bring his harmonica. The Subs play for over an hour and come back for an encore which included CID and Disease, Charlie defying his advancing years was jumping around like a teenager. UK Subs have been the mainstay over the years of the punk scene, and tonight we saw them at their best. There was an internet rumour circulating last year that Charlie Harper had died (when infact it was a cartoonist called Charles Harper) but on tonight's performance, let's hope that never happens. The band will also be featuring all original members when they appear at this year's Rebellion Punk Festival: I can't wait!
(By Justin Openshaw)


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