Blimey … Punk and hardcore roared into an unsuspecting Bolton on Friday night, created a few notable seismic occurrences, and then roared back out again leaving the natives somewhat dazed and confused, but with that wide eyed & bushy tailed look of those who had witnessed a class night.

The Goldblade roadshow trooped into town, accompanied by a fine supporting bill, at the town’s Kico Club. The night’s programming was inspired, with each band bringing a different facet of punk / post-punk / metal / hardcore / [your label here] to the party. The Kico Club is a decent venue, with good sound and facilities, plus the added bonus of a late club night once the bands finish. Organisers are to be commended for bringing such top quality live music to a town not particularly noted for a live scene. (Note to potential punters: support these types of local nights or lose ‘em full stop!).

Sadly we missed the well regarded Flat Back Four, but FFA did catch Rebel Conspiracy’s set of power hardcore. An amalgam of Manchester-Krakow, these guys play fast and hard; the three piece blasting out a wall of quality sound to get Mrs FFA’s foot tapping – rare praise indeed.

Next up were the excellent Mardi Gras Bombers. Self-described as producing a sound akin to ‘Battersea Dogs Home on Bonfire Night’, this post-punk outfit really hit the spot. Damion Gillet’s singing, and some fine bass, particularly in the more skanky numbers, were top notch. Loud and forceful. We thought we saw plaster falling from the ceiling.

Goldblade; what can we say? Swaggering anthemic punk? Anarchistic polemics against the status quo that you can still sing in the bath? Good time rock & roll?  No matter what your take on their ethos, politics, or intent to still fight the punk rock war; decanted to its absolute, these guys write cracking songs with brilliant hooks, which are delivered with true style and first class musicianship. I’d say ‘panache’ but I fear they would come round and let my tyres down, or at least leaflet my house. You don’t go to a Goldblade gig – you go to a Goldblade SHOW. The iconic multi-talented frontman, and all round good-guy, John Robb, has a stage presence and hold on an audience that you could slice with a chainsaw and sell in the back alleys around Wardour Street.

Setting the tone with a savage ‘Fighting In The Dancehall’ and a brilliant ‘Strictly Hardcore’, we fastened our seat belts for the start of an enthralling Goldblade rollercoaster ride. Playing air guitar with the moshers, and throwing in a few long forgotten practice pogo’s, FFA had a rather jolly time. You can’t be dispassionate about this – you either loved it or loved it. It got better; during a blistering Do You Believe (In The Power of Rock & Roll), FFA were anointed, along with faithful, as Robb laid hands on heads in the audience, eliciting a pledge of allegiance from those who had seen the light. Oh, I believe.

Stripped to the waist (Which way? Which way?), Robb had the crowd bouncing as the four piece sound machine behind him gave a master class in punk entertainment, particularly during ‘Psycho’, and the oddly poignant ‘Rebel Songs’.

We left Bolton vibrating slightly and revelling in the aftershocks …. Excellent stuff.


You can check out what you could be missing, enjoy some punk power vids, and buy tickets HERE


Article by Barrie Dimond