No Comply – Scunthorpe Baths Hall

By paul

It’s raining outside and I’ve been forced to walk up a massive hill for over a mile so I can get to the venue knowing my car will still be there for me when the gig is over. Whoever said that Scunthorpe wasn’t the most glamorous of towns was obviously right On top of my misery, as I’m walking up the North East’s equivalent of Everest, NoComply drive past me in their bus. Damn those Plymouth punks for not picking me up…ahem… Anyway, it’s not ofetn that Scunthorpe is treated to such a fantastic band, and on a Friday, so it was only right and proper to make a trip down to the Baths Hall, pay my ¶œ6, and watch the five bands on the bill in action.

The first two bands on stage, CHAOS and MISDIRECTION are both bad bands. I don’t know who was who, but the first band were the worst. So as NoComply arrive I slink off to their dressing room and interview them. Nice chaps they are too, I hasten to add. I return from the cavernous backstage dressing room (which has no food or drink for them – indeed water is ¶œ1 a bottle for the band which is a disgrace – promoter take note) to catch our top tips for the top, TOMORROW NEVER CAME. The band are steadily progressing well and if it wasn’t for a series of technical problems, they would really have showcased their talents tonight. Coming across like the bastard offspring of Audio Karate and Rufio, TNC have brought a few friends along with them and they sing along to the likes of the catchy ‘It’s All Gone’ and newie ‘A Winter’s Kiss’. Technically TNC are very able musicians, but the PA system tonight is terrible. The guitars sound out of synch and this seems to put vocalist Paul off. Tom’s bass strap breaks clean off as he attempts a jump – and it would appear that only Phill’s drumming escapes unscathed. For me ‘A Face In A Photograph’ is still their best song, full of adventure and originality, reminding me of Rufio with all the fantastic lead guitar parts. On record this band really cut the mustard, but live they are certainly still learning their trade. There’s a lack of interaction between band and crowd, including a near two-minute silence when PA repairs are on-going, but the movement now seems more natural and there’s less static time on stage. However, a few more rock star poses need to be thrown and natural movement will keep things even more exciting. TNC are a young band with an abundance of talent and even though tonight wasn’t their best show, I know they have it in them to keep on improving and getting better. (7)

I disappear again as BLINDED BY IVAN hit the stage to chat to Kelly and various other band members at their merch stand, but it would appear that these young ska punks may be on to a winner. Blasting out with all horns blazing, it is difficult to hear and see what is going on through a closed door, but what you can hear sounds promising enough. The cover of ‘Live and Let Die’ goes down a treat – and I think it’s safe to say that Scunthorpe will be hearing more of this lot in the near future.

That leads NOCOMPLY to the stage and the gulf in class is massive. With a stage presence that amply fills the big Baths Hall platform, the Plymouth skacore band rock a quarter-full crowd into the early hours of Saturday morning. Having driven over nine hours to get here, there’s absolutely no sign of tiredness at all as all of the tracks from their new EP ‘Your Life Is Your Direction’ are blasted out. The PA, which has had niggly problems all night, holds out and a small number of kids skank away like their lives depended on it. The energy levels are phenomenal and the confidence exuding from the stage is easily apparent. ‘Falling From Crosses’ sounds absolutely massive, the riffs are huge and the band look as though they’re having fun on stage. Deck Cheese are lucky to have this lot – the chorus in this song is amazing and it’s a personal favourite of mine. Guitarist Jon kicks and jumps his way through the album’s title track, while Oz screams along with backing vocals, acting as Kelly’s perfect foil. The vocalist is an abundance of energy, working the crowd playfully in between songs and with a fantastic voice to boot. There’s an extra edge to the live performance that is slightly missing from the EP, as Kelly scowls and screams her way through ‘Decide’ while Jon and Nick batter their instruments into oblivion. It’s no wonder why they’ve been pissed off with the mainstream media’s notions that they are ‘just another ska band’. You try telling them that as they throw everything but the kitchen sink at ‘Rejected‘. The horns sound great and the drums are perfect throughout as Kelly tells Scunthorpe (complete with fake northern accent) that she’s “not in love with you.” The slower ‘Background Action’ gets the kids skanking along and after a few older songs are sprinkled in for good measure, the gig ends with Kelly ditching her mic for a spot with the kids at the front as they push and shove their way to the time of the music. In short, NoComply are fucking awesome tonight and listening to the EP again on the way home, you can’t fail not to be impressed. NoComply have a tortuous tour schedule coming up and they will be visiting a town near you this year. You absolutely owe it to yourselves to see one of the freshest and exciting live bands around. (9)