Smokey Bastard // Sub89 // Reading

23 October 2011

By: Chris Fishlock

Support: Claypigeon, Drones

Having worked hard on creating their latest album, ‘Tales of the Wasteland’ since summer 2010, Smokey Bastard finally got round to releasing their record (receiving a very positive review from Sound-Revolution) backed by a launch show in their hometown of Reading.

Opening the night was energetic Camberley punk band Drones, who are preparing to release their debut album in December. They played a short set of fast tunes with a great energy seeing them bouncing all over the stage, with vocalist and guitarist Daly George moving off stage for the last few songs of their set. Sadly, due their early playing time, they didn’t play to much of an audience – and despite their attempts to get people moving the crowd remained mostly inactive throughout their set. Luckily this didn’t stop the band putting a great deal of effort and energy into their performance.

The main support slot came from brilliant London ska punk act Claypigeon, having lost a key member earlier this year the band have recently returned to the live scene as a three piece act. They played a set mostly consisting of new versions of their older material, as well as throwing in a few newly written songs. The band played strongly as a three piece and maintained a decent sized audience, with a few people dancing and singing along to the set.

Reading's own: Smokey Bastard

Coming on stage to an enthusiastic hometown crowd, Smokey Bastard got things going straight away opening with an old song, getting the crowd nice and lively with Smokey Bastard’s great style of folk punk. The band went on to preview the majority of ‘Tales of the Wasteland’ for the fresh ears of the crowd who remain just as active hearing the songs for the first time as they do for the few older Smokey Bastard songs played in the set. Highlights of the set included the epic ‘Mongrel’ and danceable ‘Mong Some Hoof’. Latest single ‘Yuppie Dracula’ inspired the crowd to start dancing the waltz much like in the video for the song. Another highlight of the set was ‘Dear Mol’ bringing onstage Smokey Bastard’s former fiddle player to provide the female vocals and the crowd engaging in a circle pit for the more rowdy climax of the song.

Getting one of the best reactions of the night was ‘Wasteland’, a song about the very town they were performing in – perhaps getting a special reaction from the locals agreeing with the view of the town represented in the song. After two short poems before the encore from bassist and vocalist Mike Wood the whole band returned for a rendition of ABBA’sMamma Mia’, much to the enthusiasm of the crowd. A cover that does not fit quite so well on ‘Tales of the Wasteland’ fits perfectly well as a slightly humorous closer and sing along for a live set, it’s not often you see a mosh pit to an ABBA song. Smokey Bastard are a fantastic live band with a great brand of energetic folk punk to get people dancing and with the new album have a brilliant set of tunes to display when playing live, you are guaranteed to have fun if you see this band live.