The Westgarth in Middlesbrough is a proper social club, with locals enjoying a few pints and a game of snooker in one room while bands throw out some noise in the room next door.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – the sound engineer at these gigs works wonders and tonight is no exception.
First up are King Mojo. There’s a huge Weller/Jam sound here, with subtle hints of punk rock guitar and 60s garage all coming together to create powerful tunes that get your feet moving. Tonight they seem tighter and more together than the last time I saw them (supporting Toyah). Oz (guitar & vocals), Tetley (keyboard/vocals), Dave and Adrian (bass & drums) are clearly talented at what they do, with the sound system really allowing them to shine.
So after a short interlude, The Fallen Leaves then treated us to an hour of their own blend of catchy guitar-driven garage punk that included songs from all four of their albums.
Rob Green, complete with maracas, flask of tea, shades, a rather cool walking stick (used for nothing more than resting his arms and gunning down the audience) and vintage microphone blows smoke rings whilst almost crooning his way through the perfect pop punk of ’Prodigal Son’, ‘I Made A Mistake’, ‘Lavender Girl’, ‘Shining’, and ‘Silvie Says’. New song ‘Green Eyes’ slots in perfectly alongside crowd pleasers ‘Motorcycle Girl’ and singles ‘Out In A Forest’ and ‘Trouble’.
Throughout it all, Rob Symmons hammers out note-perfect twanging guitar whilst bassist Matthew Karas stands effortlessly cool in his paisley smoking jacket and the impressive drumming of Buddy Ascott (originally of ‘79/’80 mod band The Chords) holds it all together from the rear of the stage. A cheeky pre-gig request for ‘My Phantoms’, not on the original set-list, is granted and makes this a perfect gig for me.
No shouting, no swearing, no deafening thrashing guitars. This really is ‘Punk Rock For Gentlemen’.