Monday, 2 May 2016

29/4/2016 Vice Squad @ The Hope & Anchor

Since Great Northern trains introduced their new timetable I'm finding gigs in the Highbury & Islington and Old Street areas are much easier to get to, and in particular to get home from as well. It's very handy being able to get just one train all the way, and it's pretty quick too. The only snag is I have to pass two Wetherspoons pubs on the way to the Hope & Anchor - one before I even get on the train, and another just after I get off. So I don't get to see much of the support bands....

Unfortunately I've had to miss Vice Squad at their last couple of London gigs, so it's good to finally see them again. This show is part of the 'Rockaway Beach' series of promotions - the club is celebrating it's first birthday at this show. As usual it's a bill of punk bands with The Phobics and the Love Me Tenders supporting. Vice Squad seem to have ensured that the show is sold out - it's a smaller venue than they usually play at in London, but I think I'd rather see them here than at most the places they have played in London over the past ten years or so - not just because the venue is easy to get to, but also because the bar is very reasonably priced.

Vice Squad might be a punk band, but they are a very polished and professional act these days. Beki is the only original member, but the current band is far better than the original band was back in the day. I haven't been able to keep up to date with the band's latest material - they are quite prolific these days and I think the last album of theirs I bought was Defiant. There don't seem to be as many of the gnarly old punks and young snotty punk kids at this gig as I am used to seeing at this band's shows in recent years, but the venue is full and Vice Squad obviously still command a decent following
In some ways Vice Squad are more of a metal band these days than the pure punk rock they once were, but they are a tight and powerful live force Tonight's setlist is a good mix of old and new - fans from the band's early days will be kept satisfied with classics like 'Out Of Reach', 'Stand Strong Stand Proud', and of course 'Last Rockers'. The 'Defiant' album is well represented too with the title track plus 'Voice Of The People', and 'Spitfire', along with some songs from the band's three more recent albums - something for everyone.
The band blast through nearly twenty songs and end with an energetic tear through Motörhead's classic 'Ace Of Spade' - a favourite with the band for many years now and always a crowd pleaser!

It's been a good night out at one of London't best known 'pub rock' venues - good value for money too at around a tenner for three good bands. It's also a refreshing change to be able to buy a decent pint of real ale in the pub for £3.70 - which goes to show that it isn't necessary to charge well over £4 for a (usually poor quality) pint in London music venues. This is the sort of thing that encourages me to keep going back to a place like the Hope & Anchor and drives me away from other venues where I know I am being ripped off. Some other London music venues (and also certain North London pubs in Whetstone and Southgate who book cover bands) could learn from this....