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Joe Donnelly was a member of Belfast's the Producers punk outfit, back in the late 70's Northern Ireland punk scene. He's currently still going to gigs, still into punk and contributing articles on punk and it's influence on many web sites. Nihilism On The Prowl is more than happy to get his gig reviews, comments and views on what's happening on the streets of Belfast these days. Here's one example...
Anarchy for sale! (Joe Donnelly)
Stand And Deliver/Give Me All Your Money!
I'm gonna come clean right from the start. I was at a Busted concert last night!
(Sacre Bleur!- P.D.C.) There I've said it and any punk credibility I may have had goes flying out the window or does it? Now let me tell you the story before you judge me.(OK were all ears - PDC) I was given four gratis tickets worth a whopping 120 with the understanding that I accompanied three kids aged between 11 and 9 to the show. And me being the only person in the family who goes to gigs on a regular basis, I was roped in. Now I tried my best to get out of going, but emotional blackmail was applied. If I don't go then the kids would have to miss the show and it'll be my fault. So I had to give in and attend reluctantly.
Entering the massive aircraft hanger known as the Odyssey arena, the place is wall to wall teenyboppers. Some are dressed in a kids chainstore version of someone's vision of 'punk' style. And no doubt persuading their disgruntled parents to part with serious ammounts of cash for absolute merchandising tatt...like badly designed t-shirts and inflatable guitars. A a rip-off!!! Add this to the vastly marked up prices at the concession stands and you were sure to have a wallet emptying evening. This was rampant comercialism in full effect, and these alleged Tory boys Tarquin?, Jeremy? and
Ronald? (I don't know their real names?) sure know how to fleece an audience. The prices were astronomical for everything! They also know the power of advertising as they bombard the kids at every opportunity with adverts on the video screens to buy the latest product from their boyband buddies. And of course where there's a buck to be made Beckham is sure to be promoting something. This time it's an out of date dvd going by his hairstyle. It's all relentlessly plugged, "if you don't ask you won't get" as one advert stated. The persistant in your face sales push is sickening and really sticks in the throat.
We missed the first rocky sounding band whoever they were?!!  But we were in plenty of time for what turned out to be one of the worst concert going experiences of my life. And believe me, I've seen some dross in my time! They were an all miming unable to dance in time together, boyband. It was fucking awful. I felt like jumping off the balcony. How did they manage to get on a stage, never mind near a microphone? The person who booked them should be ashamed of themselves. It couldn't have been a serious band like Busted's choice could it? It must've been a management/record label decision. There was a much used saying in the music press in the post punk 80's "Kill Ugly Pop" And I couldn't agree more. If Busted really want to be taken seriously then they gotta get away from variety bills like this. Whoever was selling those glowing stick things must have made a mint, there was thousands of the things giving a Christmas tree lighting glow in the darkness, as Busted took to the stage in a blaze of light and prepubecent screaming. This was the template for the rest of the show to batter the audiences senses into submission with stage lighting effects, noisey pop and inane chat from start to finish. "Are we going back to your house for a party?" they jokeingly tease, as the little girls scream louder. Knowing full well that if they did they would end up in jail as most of the audience were about 13!
Now to my reason for writing this, as I wouldn't have wasted my time otherwise. Each Busted member had a solo spot mid gig, and the punky one (Ronald?) launched into a stadium punk version of the Clash's 'Should I stay Or Should I go' as the massive video screens relayed xerox punk images, including the Misfits skull motif and @narchy symbols to the shellshocked kids and disaproving parents. Cr@ss would have turned in their grave. He threw himself into the song with gusto and enough pyro to make Kiss proud. Then unbelievibly came the 70's dancing punks video footage from the Sex Pistols 'Anarchy In The UK' promo. Classic giant images in black and white as they pogoed and pushed in a hail of blood and gob. It still looks powerful now at a scale I've never imagined, and it's the first time I've seen it projected at skyscraper height. Julian Temple or the Pistols must be onto a few quid. I hate 'Should I stay Or Should I Go', it's one of the Clash's/Mick Jones worst efforts! But this performance looked and sounded great. So full marks to that man. I was impressed but then I was a kid in the glam era, so I'm easily won over by all the OTT bombast. It just went over the puzzled kids heads though, as they waited on the next top ten hit. After my one highlight it was hit after hit with the odd LP cut. But on the whole as a big budget, crowd pleasing show, it did it's job if your into this sort of thing. What's wrong with young men wanting to show off and play their own brand of noisy guitar pop/punk? If I put my punk snob prejudice to one side, I'd rather have this than X idol. academy, fame, factor, rival crap, dance conveyor belt pop anyday. Busted may not be the best band out there and they're certainly not the worst, but god help us if the alternative was that shower of shite that supported them. Thankfully there's plenty of choices out there. If this was the late 70's Busted would probably be thought of as a decent pop/punk band, but unfortunatlely for them it's not and they are gonna be dogged as a boyband till the day they finish. Green Day intro music and Clash covers will not gain Busted the credibility they desire. And as for breaking the USA, the yanks have this sound sewed up...they don't need Busted. Dunno what's gonna happen to them, but then I don't really care either.  What happened to Teenage kicks?
Joe Donnelly - Belfast 21/11/04.