Sixties Nuggets Punk Legends Play Last Night at the Dirty Water Club


If you’re in the business of playing punk rock 60s style, i.e. anything from half-assed Chuck Berry and Bo Diddley riffs, to lo-fi speeded-up surf, to snotty Kinks, Stones and Yardirds r’n’b, to spaced out psych, or just want to make an unholy racket, then there can be no greater stamp of approval than to be included on a Nuggets box set.

I’m sure you know of what I speak. Issued by Rhino in the States, the three boxes are just about the final word on the most damn exciting era in the history of guitar-based music.

This Friday, to bring the curtain down on his long-running Dirty Water Club, PJ Crittenden has gathered not one but two Nuggets-approved acts for your delight.

Gonn are the real deal. Kids who tried to punch their way out of Iowa four decades ago, they recrded the garage punk classic Blackout of Gretely in the back room of an electronics store by simply pointing two microphones at the band and cranking the amps up high. It holds it’s head high on disc four of the original Nuggets box, among your Louie Louie, Too Much to Dream last Night, Talk Talk, Liar Liar, The Witch et al.

Can’t tell you how many of the original guys are still in the band, but I think the safest approach will be to go along tomorrow night and ask questions later.

Support comes from Mick Hampshire’s Masonics. Now, I promised you another Nuggets act. I stretched a point. You won’t find the Masonics on Nuggets, but you will find two tracks by Mick’s previous group, 80s rhythm’n’beat LEGENDS The Milkshakes on the third Children of Nuggets set, which showcases bands who took inspiration from the originals in the godforsaken decade they call the 1980s.

I have written here before on the Masonics, led by a man made of the stuff that caused someone way back to coin the word integrity. They play rock’n’roll with such verve that they would have left The Beatles playing to an empty Star Club had they been in Hamburg at the same time. With an ace rhythm team of Bruce Brand and Kaiser John Gibbs, plus guest vocals from Miss Ludella Black, they are premier exponents of English r’n’r and beat.

I’ll tell you all about the Milkshakes another day, which I think I said the last time I wrote about the Masonics! Oddly, they also used to rehearse in the back room of an electronics shop, and recorded their first album there, I believe (1981’s Talkin’ ’bout Milkshakes). Billy Childish was Mick’s sparring partner in the group, playing John Lennon to Mick’s, er, John Lennon, before they went their separate ways, Billy forming a clutch of uncompromising bands; Thee Mighty Caesars, Thee Headcoats, The Buff Medways and currently The Musicians of the British Empire. Dynamic as they are, Billy’s band treads more the cracked path of punk rock, with the Masonics much closer to the spirit of the Milkshakes.

Seems like you’d better get there early. I haven’t heard Speak and the Spells, who kick off the evening, but they would appear well worth checking. I quote from the Dirty Water site:

A teenaged garage band in the true sixties tradition of kids picking up instruments just because they dig cool rock’n’roll – not to mention it’s a good way to impress the ladies – Speak and the Spells describe themselves as “A kick in the teeth, with added reverb.” This is proper garage rock’n’roll that wouldn’t sound outta place on a Pebbles or Back From the Grave compilation. If you hear one of their tunes you might think you’d gone back in time to a suburban garage in Austin, Texas in 1966.

Surely they can’t be that good, can they? I, for one, am not gonna die wondering. See you there.

The Dirty Water Club is at the Boston Arms, 178 Junction Road, Tuffnell Park, London, N19 5QQ. Doors at 8.30pm. DJs after the bands until 3am. Tickets £12.

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