Unfortunate news reached BluesBunny Towers a few hours before the show. The expected headliners, Polka Madre y la Comezon, had been denied entry to the UK for reasons unknown. Thankfully, the show was still to go ahead, with the Zips now the main act.
Swing Guitars would be the opening act of the night. Appropriately, if a little unimaginatively named, the band's rockabilly swing sound couldn't help but bring the Stray Cats to mind, had they been playing electric. Opening with "Backstreet Bounce", the acoustic duo led on with a handful more songs, each one tempting the feet of the crowd. The absence of vocals may not work in their favour, but rockabilly enthusiasts will enjoy them no end. The crowd - consisting mostly of aging punks - showed their appreciation for them as they went offstage.
The next band on didn't introduce themselves, nor did they introduce their song titles. This helped nobody, as their songs were woefully repetitive. The band's minor-key driven ambient rock, with the lead singer's soaring vocals, smacks of Radiohead, but at times sounded more like Coldplay or Snow Patrol. They did get a very good sound from the amps, though. The crowd received them surprisingly well, but still they did not speak between songs, or introduce them. It's not good practice to say nothing during your set, unless you're popular enough to get away with it, like Dylan. As their last song ended, we learned that their name was Peri. It's not that Peri aren't capable of becoming a good live act, but it'll take some work to remove the monotony. The band seemed low on confidence, perhaps themselves feeling that they didn't belong on the bill.
Last came The Zips. The crowd finally show some enthusiasm! Sounding like a Scottish version of the Clash, their newfound following comes as no surprise. "Guitars 4 Hire", from their latest album, really ought to have triggered the fans into a frenzy. This writer couldn't have been more appalled at being in the frontline, with a notepad. Where's the energy? Everyone was too clean-cut and well-dressed. "30 Years of Punk Rock" again, should have had the crowd falling over each other, with its snarling guitar and catchy choruses. The band ended on "Don't Be Pushed Around", which put the show to rest brilliantly. For a group of aging punks, they put on a damn good show!