There is the expression ‘of a sound mind’, which was a relevant theme when you entered the bottom floor of the The Royal British Legion in Ledbury last Saturday, where a local punk gig in aid of the charity Mind was being held.
The brainchild of local photographer and music producer Edoardo Mustafic aka Ed Headphones, a well loved eccentric around town, the gig featured 3 local punk bands (The Youth Within, Billy Whizz, Pablo Alto) that would end up shaking the walls of The Royal British Legion for a night few locals will forget, complementing his motto for the night ‘You’d be mad not to come’. Quite!
There were technical issues during the Billy Whizz performance, (down to dodgy lighting apparently), but soon in true Herefordshire style, onlookers jumped into lend a helping hand, and all was shortly sorted commencing the night’s shenanigans. Revellers were drawn to the sounds through the cobbled streets, as it was such a success that they had to turn punters away! All in a night’s gig.THE BANDS
First up on centre stage was enchantress-like acoustic singer Koura. She took to the stage with a ‘don’t give a damn’ attitude, and surprised the crowds with sweet, husky tones, and impressive finger picking. Koura opened with a rendition of ‘Sweet Child of Mine’. More covers ensued, as beers and ciders were drunk, appreciating the folky lullabies in preparation for the harder stuff.
Sounds like: Beth Orton camped out with gypsies, making sheep skin coats and imbibed with pints of ale, all in a day’s work.
The first of the bands to grace the stage were the atmospheric Pablo Alto. With strong guitar leads and a foot-tapping beat to boot, these guys went down a storm. As soon as they began, they were mirroring a New Wave, Psych Rock sound with an underbelly of the garage scene. Dancers sprung from their bottoms to appreciate the resonating notes as the power of the vocals and melodies took over the hall. Their set wasn’t long enough – we want more next time!
Sounds like: This cocktail: a bell bottom glass, the spirits of Echo and The Bunny Men and The Cure, topped with Joy Division, a sprinkle of Billy Bragg, with a straw of Jesus and the Mary Chain.
Next up for a sweat fueled, grizzly performance were the awesome Billy Whizz. They had a definite hardcore vibe to them, pumping out melodies whilst scraping their instruments. They were singing in harmonies, with a couple of impressive acapella moments whilst building up to those with instrumental eruptions. They had the floor full, as you could sense the crowd summing up the mosh pit possibilities, when all of a sudden the technical difficulties kicked in. You know I said earlier about the lights going out? This was that moment. The hall came to a stand still, as the organiser rallied the troops in to help, while the crowd got restless and headed to the bar that was writing down their takings as the tills went down. Power was resumed shortly thereafter, and off played Billy Whizz, as they bounced through the remainder of their set, which sounded stronger than before. Solid set from these fellas.
Sounds like: At a rockabilly night, The Dead Kennedy’s mated with Minor Threat, got sliced with a Weezer machete, and lay in a pool of Bad Religion’s blood.
The closing act that we’d all been waiting for, was a mighty lot called The Youth Within. Instantly they effortlessly created a chunky punk sound, getting the crowd jumping while their vocalist was filling the hall with happy vibes, with a ska element to their music that you couldn’t help but shake your thang to. The singer squalls out the vocals, the guitarists smacks in the chords, whilst the bassist pumps his heavy sound as the drummer bangs a keen beat. The lads lived up to the expectations, as the crowd was truly skanking, rocking and swaying at the end of the night. Surely they’ll be heading for way more gigs, soon!
Sounds like: The band “Leftover Crack” got an invite to the moon with The Descendants, the light that guided them was Mudhoney, only to be abducted on the way by The Exploited.
SO WHAT DO WE THINK OF THE PLACE?
The Royal British Legion is adjacent to the notorious Prince of Wales pub on Church Street in Ledbury, and is quite a subdued affair, the hall on the bottom floor, serves up local ales and ciders, offering outdoor seating where smokers can unite and have a natter. The first floor offers warmth and retro appeal in the traditional ‘old boy’ sense with plenty of seating for our well-loved Veterans to gather.
Article by Claire Perkins, Solo Artist known as ‘Perk’ and Frontwoman for A Hundred Suns