REVIEW: Vic Godard & Subway Sect plus The Ladykillers at The Zanzibar, 10/08/2012

PUNK legend Vic Godard rocked the Zanzibar with his band Subway Sect, support came in the form of local indie new wave band The Ladykillers. Our very own punk rocker Shaun McCoy reviews.

Young Turks The Ladykillers are a fitting support act for legendary Vic Godard & Subway. The Crosby quartet are a melodic post punk group in a similar vain to Franz Ferdinand and Orange Juice, but much louder. Their youthful exuberance comes across straight away as they do an admirable version of Magazine’s Shot By Both Sides. The riffs come fast and furious, and a Hofner violin bass is a surprising sight in band of this ilk. If you thought these guys were loud – stick around for Vic & Subway Sect. The Ladykillers do a rousing set of their own songs including: Evil In The Air, Slow Kids, and the raucous finale – You Don’t Know Yourself.

Seeing the guys beforehand you would think they are still a bit wet behind the ears. They’re almost seasoned performers having supported tonight’s main act at the Williamson Tunnels last year. The young gentlemen also did a fine cover of an early XTC number Statue Of Liberty. XTC were a band emerging around the same time as Vic when he was in an original line-up of Subway Sect. So to the present day with Vic still producing vibrant performances with a more recent version of Subway Sect. 

Monsieur Godard starts off with the rabble rousing Take Over, lots of la, la, la’s in a chorus of East End drawl. The heightened pace carries on with the excellent Stool Pigeon from a lost Subway Sect album 1978 Now, which was re-recorded in 2007. The pace is toned down with the excellently edgy Musical Werewolf and The Devil’s In League With You. The former has an unworldly quality to it with a horror film-like keyboard, combined with a narrative of seediness prowling through the dark.

Before Nobody’s Scared, Vic warns the audience to ‘get your ear plugs in.’ The set has the intensity of punk and the more melodic sound of new wave. Featuring the seething intent and the pounding bass deployed by the likes of Vic’s then contemporaries Joy Division and Gang of Four. Vic Godard is one of the iconic glasses wearing heroes of music along with Buddy Holly, Roy Orbison and Hank Marvin.

Vic does a sublime cover of Et Meme, a classic French track sung by Francoise Hardy in the 1960s. Vic is very much influenced by French singers, French new wave films and jazz music. These Gallic elements of singing can be heard at times in Vic’s unconventional style of vocal. The finishing tracks Vertical Integration and the punk classic Ambition feature the riffs of the Who and T-Rex respectively. Near the very end Vic announces they don’t do encores and promptly walks off stage as the rest of the band play on. The drummer goes into manic frenzy as the sound levels are switched up with the vibrations causing bottles to fall off shelves and almost nearly obliterating everyone’s hearing.

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