It’s not every day a fellow music journo is 50 but the big day arrived for Woodstock Punkrock, owner of PunkBob and a celebration was arranged at The Boathouse in Cambridge, a spacious white pub on the banks of The River Cam, didn’t look like a place for punk but looks can be deceptive, reasonable bar prices, food on offer, decking so could sit outside and was a lovely warm evening, the party was held in a small room upstairs with a capacity of around 100 and for this special occasion it was packed to capacity.
First up came The MacGregors an in your face rock ‘n roll band from Essex fronted by Mad Rab McGregor, who did indeed come out into the audience and was singing in the faces of a few unsuspecting women, who had stood too near to the front, and staring at them with a demented look in his eye! A band of mixed ages and some in costumes, although not as good as Dirt Box Discos’! They sang ‘Happy Birthday’ with the aid of some helpers, and lyrics including ‘Happy Birthday you old git, you’re knocking on a bit! Hey ho 5 – 0’. The last song was dedicated to all the women out there. I think it was called Socks, that’s what I’ve written down anyway and I liked it! I enjoyed their set.
Next came Mispelt, a three piece from Little Piddling who opened with a number wutg a bass start, they were very Motorhead meets The Ramones, very fast, heavy on the bass. They asked where the birthday boy was and Woodstock shouted ‘Never mind that shit, get on with it’. Playing at 100mph. I thought I recognised the next one even though I haven’t see them before, it turns out the tune was from a Born To Destruct song, Punk as Fuck with new words ‘Woodstock’s still punk as fuck he may be 50 but he pogos! Good set and a nice touch.
Third band of the celecrations were Emergency Bitter, a four piece from London/Kingston fronted by Ferret. Whilst it may be unlucky for some we got thirteen, short songs and a few people were singing along so they either have a good local fan base or had brought a few fans with them. I thought they were a bit Splodgenessabounds meets Jilted John. Ferret announced ‘It’s Mr Woodstock’s birthday on Monday’ and mentioned Woodstock’s feline friend Punkbob before dedicated a song to the birthday boy.
Then it was time for the birthday boy to put in an appearance, Woodstock Punkrock with his band Born To Destruct. After a ‘Good Evening Cambridge’ they opened with Tombstones, their set included T Rex, a new song Euphoric, a hard, fast one reminding me of Spunk Volcano’s Crossfire and it had people pogoing at the front. A song we’d already had one version of this evening, and this time it was the original Punk As Fuck. Woodstock thanked everyone for coming and said that it meant a lot. He did look genuinely happy and I thought he was gonna burst into tears, but he managed to keep it together, and everyone sang ‘Happy Birthday’ to him. His daughter Kat got up to join him for a rendition of One Minute and he looked very much the proud father, then Drop the Needle followed and his daugther stayed dancing and left the stage after a kiss and hug. They ended their set with Destruction Rock n Roll and lots of well earned cheers went out to the birthday boy and his band.
Penultimate band came in the, all female, form of Beverly Kills who were playing in their hometown. I picked up a Buzzcocks What Do I Get vibe in their opening song but for some reason the band were not happy with the sound and front woman Georgie came out front to listen. Georgie said thet there was also another birthday as it was Bob’s birthday too and the next song which had a Dead Kennedys flavour, went out to Bob. It’s All Over reminded me of Dirt Box Disco’s King of The Castle. The set included a cover of Belinda Carlisle’s Heaven Is A Place on Earth although their version was done punk rock style. They invited Woodstock up for the last song Walk With Me and gave him a birthday card which had their set list written on the back. For some reason the band didnt’ seem happy with the sound for most of the set but it sounded alright to me, overall impression would be Buzzcocks meets Blondie.
Then it was time for the headliners, the one and only Dirt Box Disco, Weab and Spunk came blundered throught the crowd and like Moses parting the red sea they created a gap to squeeze through. They opened with Tragic Roundabout then Weab announced ‘Here’s a song about Spunk’s cooking! Burning!’ nothing wrong with that, I like my sausages well done! The the next song went out to Jimmy Saville, Rolf Harris and Ken Barlow and that song was Peep Show. A large round of applause led to a ‘You guys are awesome! Thanks’ from Weab then he asked to sing as loud as we could to the next one as ‘A few posh people downstairs might not like it’ The song was My Life Is Shit and the audience obliged trying to raise the roof off the Boathouse!
Then Weab announced ‘Cambridge. You are loudest crowd this tour, finally someone has beaten those Mancs!’ Someone shouted ‘I was there’ Was it me? No, but I was there and it was a tough call as to which audience was louder! Next we were Standing in a Queue although with the crowd going wild it was more argy bargy and queue jumping than standing in an orderly queue! In between several loud and vulgar burps Weab handed over ‘To Mr Spunkus’ he said Spunk had got to announce this one as it had got them banned from a few places and added ‘But there you go’ Spunk asked ‘Who’s got a cock and who’s got a fanny? Who’s got both’ and announced I Just Wanna be a Girl and I don’t think he was confessing that he wants to take cross dressing one step further he was annoucing the next song which led to more manic dancing and mayhem in the audience! After which Weab said ‘Hope you enjoyed that’ and asked ‘Anyone not seen Dirt Box Disco before?’ There were a few yes’s but not from me! I’ve seen them once or twice! Weab welcomed the newbies to the party. They don’t know what they’ve been missing!
Spunk the asked ‘We Wanna Conga?’ and we did so Weab told us to ‘Feel free it’s a party’ Spunk said ‘If you want to do a conga do it to this one! Are you ready?’ and a snake like conga formed for My Girlfriend’s Best Friend’s Sister. Great fun. Another burp from Weab before another new song Ladyboyz was announced but time must have been running out as he said ‘Change of plan, only three songs left’ and we got I Don’t Want to go out With You. With time running out the audience parted and I thought I must have had a bit too much to drink as I was seeing double when a larger than life Spunk double blundered through the audience and the band launched into Let’s Get Wasted and although I was, indeed, seeing double Spunk there were two Spunks, real Spunk and Baby Spunk, who was the birthday boy himself! A brilliant end to a brilliant night!
For raising the roof did Cambridge beat the Mancs? Possibly but I’d like to the Mancs regained their Crown at North West Calling at The 02 Ritz Manchester the following week although I wasn’t there so I can’t confirm one way or the other! It would be a poor show if the audience at a gig in a venue the size of The Ritz in Manchester didn’t beat The Boathouse pub in Cambridge but stranger things have happened. A thoroughly enjoyable evening and for Woodstock’s birthday and he needs to stay ever young and have a 50th every year!
Photos: Thanks to Seven Sisters Photo. Facebook Page here.