Monday, 4 August 2008

Stansted 2 Hullbridge Sports 0

FA Cup Extra Preliminary Round
Hargrave Park, Stansted
att. 120

Hobo in my pocket #21

Not long now 'til the Road to Wembley begins once more. In anticipation of, hopefully, another good year for the ol' mug, here's a picture from the very first day of last years competition; a Friday night kick-off due to the lack of availability of the shared football/cricket pitch the following afternoon.

Previously, on Dub Steps
Stansted 2 Hullbridge Sports 0

from the Vanity Project archive (issue #21)

16 Bronsons.
Portsmouth Registry. 15feb07.

Jim: “Let’s fucking do this…you know who we are.” The subsequent heckles suggest that some people need their memories refreshed. That’s understandable. Although reunited for a while now, after a cessation of activity around 2001, the gigs have come as a trickle, rather than a flow. The publicity for this show paints them as Portsmouth legends and while that may be a little hard on the sell, let me tell you, around the turn of the millennium the Bronsons were on astonishing, and consistent, form. They had the respect and love of many, both within the Portsmouth punk community of the time, and those outside. Commitments outside of music made it so that taking it further was unviable, but for those of us who saw them at the time, they were a very special and powerful band. Seven years on, of course, after such a period away from the stage, it would be unrealistic to believe they could recapture that kind of white heat. That’s just the musical law, really. ‘Comeback’ law. Wanna fight the law? Law’ll win. With that in mind, 16 Bronsons deserve respect for the fact that tonight’s set is entirely brand new. The old stuff? Great songs like ‘Tempertrip’, ‘Outcast’ and ‘Regrets’? All swept into the bin. This is a band with the confidence in themselves (if we ignore “we’ll fuck this up” as one fairly typical example of the between song banter) and their ability to successfully move on. Some of the stage energy clearly remains, Jim high-kicking and barking his strained snarl up into the down-turned mic and Dan Harding launching with guitar at his mic like a pub doorman intervening sharply amidst a fist-fight in the public bar. Behind them it’s a union of opposites, Dan White with his relaxed, effortless poise contrasting with drummer Matt’s picture of nervy concentration. Some of the new stuff is really good, with excitingly swift turns of pace, and an often-athletic rhythm. It might be all new gear, but that flexing of their musical muscle is a powerful nostalgia hit. Amongst the rakish bounce of ‘Where Can It Be’, third song in, is the first appearance in tonight’s set of Jim and Dan Harding’s twin vocal harmonies. The significance of this coalition in the power of the Bronsons songs should not be underestimated, as when they come together, it brings out the best of the individual voices. It’s a whole-trumping-the-sum thing, and the fact they still have that in their arsenal means the Bronsons will continue to be a potent force, if now a more mature kind.

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