Zounds / Super Fast Girlie Show / Anarka and Poppy Bittersuite, Preston

Above: Zounds, below Anarka and Poppy and Super Fast Girlie Show Photos by Richard Nixon
Above: Zounds, below Anarka and Poppy and Super Fast Girlie Show Photos by Richard Nixon
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First up on the night’s lineup was Anarka and Poppy.

It was not the full band but two of its original members.

This is the first time in 30 years that they have played together, so the look of nervousness on both their faces was understandable.

With female vocals and the drummer playing guitar, they treated the crowd to an electric acoustic set of classic sounding anarcho-punk.

They rip through just a handful of songs delivering a tight performance that was well received by the crowd watching.

The look of relief as they finished the last song showed that this was not an easy gig for them.

But it is safe to say that Anarka and Poppy had nothing to worry about as they played a flawless show.

Liverpool three-piece Super Fast Girlie Show were up next.

The drummer and two bass players had a much louder sound than the previous gig at the Continental, which gave the audience a better appreciation of
the rawness this band has.

With an array of effects on the bass, you found yourself questioning whether there was a guitarist lurking in the background.

As they powered their way through a set of punk rock and roll this band delivered a raw, heavy and unforgiving wall of sound to a delighted crowd.

The adrenaline the band put into their performance, along with a set of punishing songs, make these a must see band live and one to watch for in the future.

The billed Astronauts could not make it on the night so it was time for the main band the Zounds, an anarchist post-punk outfit formed in 1977, to take the stage.

You could feel a sense of anticipation in the room over what to expect from the three piece.

The sound was clear and loud as they ran through classic tracks like Subvert, Little Bit More, Dirty Squatters and the psychedelia-influenced Demystification.

Their songs were played well with no margin for error and the gig flowed effortlessly along.

Unfortunately, they lacked energy and stage presence, the songs seemed slowed down and it was as if some of their spirit had been lost over the years.

For me there was no enthusiasm to the set but perhaps I’d missed the point, as opinion on the night was divided.

The songs were greeted with applause and they certainly had the most crowd movement of the evening.

Although the gig was not packed out, the majority of the crowd were behind the band and enjoyed the performance.

It was good to see the band live and hear tracks I’d only previously heard on record, but overall I left feeling I had not seen them at their best.

James Rogers

Photos by Richard Nixon