Sunday, 14 September 2014

15/2/2013 Gunfire Dance & Healthy Junkies @ The Unicorn

SubjectGunfire Dance & Healthy Junkies @ The Unicorn
DateCreated2/23/2013 5:51:00 PM

Friday night finds me back in Camden for the second time this week. I seem to have been finding myself at The Unicorn quite a few times in the last few months - as have a lot of my friends. Seeing three or four bands for free and enjoying pub price drinks seems to be something people like.

Even if only one of the bands is to your taste it doesn't matter much if it hasn't cost you anything to get in, and you are more likely to stick around because of the cheap beer and check the other bands out.

There are quite a few well known venues which a lot of people really dislike going to because of the staff attitude and poor quality bar/rip-off prices.

The only real complaint I've ever heard about this place is that it can take ages to get served at the bar, but that's certainly not a problem unique to this venue.

As is often the case here the earlier bands on the bill aren't that great, but it doesn't matter too much as people are happy to hang around the front part of the pub and chat - Newcastle Brown being only £3 a bottle compared to £4.60 at The Garage makes this much more agreeable.

Is it me or do other people find it difficult to take a metal band seriously even if they can play well if the guys don't even look like the like metal?

Spider Redundant can riff heavily enough but they just don't look the part. OK - we know most musicians playing this scene have full time day jobs, but that doesn't mean you have to go on stage looking like a part-time rocker.

Healthy Junkies are on next.

This lot almost seem to be the 'House Band' these days but they can now draw a decent crowd so playing regularly is paying off.

The band's playing has got tighter and tighter over the past couple of years or so - another benefit of getting out and playing regularly. Most bands will tell you rehearsing is no substitute for playing actual gigs - some say a gig is worth ten rehearsals for honing your craft - I think there is a lot of truth in that and the proof is here tonight. Healthy Junkies play with great confidence and have more stage presence than most other bands on the circuit.

Others have also noticed this band's live ability and catchy songwriting nuance, and a deal is now in place for the release of their second album - some songs from which are played tonight. Many bands on the toilet circuit are instantly forgettable, but Healthy Junkies have songs with hooks you remember and they have a certain something onstage. A lot of bands in this scene try too hard with image and 'attitude' without realising that many other bands are doing exactly the same thing, and also looking and sounding the same. There is nothing to make them stand out, nothing to remember. Healthy Junkies aren't afraid to stand out by daring to have a more poppy commercial feel fell while still retaining a punk or grunge edge. This is what makes them stand out from the crowd and get noticed - people come back to see them again.

Last on tonight are the reformed (again) Gunfire Dance. A bit of a blast-from-the past these 1980's/90's nearly-rans are actually a very good live band.

Unfairly hyped as a British G'N'R in their early days they were actually more influenced by New York punk. That fact sort of came home to roost last year when ex-Heartbreaker Walter Lure picked them to be his backing band on a UK tour - a task they rose to with relish!

There is still a Johnny Thunders influence in the band's own material - without being a Heartbreakers rip-off act. The band have a definite identity of their own and are one of the best rock 'n' roll bands I have seen at this venue.

After a good night in Camden I head home at a sensible time for a change - leaving around midnight for the bus gives me time to catch a train from Finsbury Park. Well that sort of works. As I arrive on the platform a train rolls in with Welwyn Garden City as it's destination. This is perfect because trains to WGC stop at ALL stations. I jump on the train and in no time it's really flying. And it flies straight through Barnet! It doesn't stop until Potters Bar. I alight there and find it is now one in the morning and there are no trains back. There are no buses either, and I have no money for a cab. And the Oyster card readers at Potters Bar aren't enabled (so why go to the expense of installing them?) so I will be charged maximum fare for my journey.

It's a six or seven mile walk home, and my blue suede creepers are less than ideal footwear for the trek.

Still, it's not cold and it's not raining so it could be a lot worse. I've got no choice so I start walking... The countryside of Hertfordshire is nice and quiet - I see some foxes and an owl. Not a human soul on foot. I manage to pass the Potters Bar M25 roundabout without stopping to sleep on it this time, and instead I am back at home and in bed by around 3 AM. The exercise did me good and I sleep well.

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