Sunday April 23, 2017
Steve Auto caught up with punk legends the Vibrators when their 40th Anniversary tour hit Poznan in Poland this past February 2.
It's not often you get excited about a band playing in Poz but punk legends the Vibrators did create a fair bit of hype.
Well, back in 2007, a few of us saw them play with UK Subs up at the Zamek (the Castle) and they were fucking great!
So when they were billed to play at U Bazyla, tickets were bought, morning lessons cancelled and excuses were made.
A good night was in store.
A PRE-GIG CHAT
Around 17:00, I popped into U Bazyla to have a quick chat with the lads.
The line-up was going to be slightly different than before as Ian 'Knox' Carnochan – one of the original founders – was out for the time being.
But what with it being the 40th Anniversary tour and all that, things looked promising.
"When people see the fact it's a 40th Anniversary show on the poster, they think, 'Oh, we better go check it out...'. They're like 'Oh shit!'," bassist Pete Honkamaki tells me.
"I remember being here before up at the Castle and taking pictures of it."
"It was the first time we'd played in a set-up like that and it was a really cool experience."
"We also had a personal beer tap at our table in the restaurant!"
Over the years, they've played a number of Polish cities, including Kraków, Łódź, Gdynia, Warsaw and Wrocław and had just played in Toruń the night previous (1/2/16).
"You get good crowds here, very enthusiastic, and things have improved here stupendously," says founding member and drummer John 'Eddie' Edwards.
"It's on the up and up – that's my memories of being here for the first time."
"I remember there being tractors everywhere and brutal roads," adds guitarist Darrell 'Daz' Bath with a grin.
"And fillings coming out of your teeth when you're driving along them," chips in Pete.
POGOS À GOGO
On that note, I left the lads to fine-tune their instruments and made my way to Rock Garaż, where a few of us were meeting for pre-gig drinks to get us in the mood.
It was a right old-skool night – beers flowed, cherry juice was spilt and we sat around discussing just how good the concert was going to be, before finally heading down to see if we were right.
We got there just in time and it didn't take long before the 'hits' started appearing.
Three songs in and I was up and dancing at the front to Whips and Furs and by the time Automatic Lover was blasting out, my fists were in the air along with everyone else's.
The Vibrators are one of those bands you don't think you know anything by – but stick on a 'best of' comp and you'll actually recognise loads of their tunes.
Granted, there were plenty of songs I wasn't familiar with, but Troops of Tomorrow and Baby Baby had me pogoing up and down and singing along with the rest of them.
Despite being labelled a 'punk' band, there's a distinct 60s rock-and-roll vibe to their sound.
For more evidence, check out their cool-as-fuck cover of the Flamin' Groovies' Slow Death.
A BIT OF TENSION
Unfortunately, there was a bit of tension caused by one prick in the crowd who insisted on elbowing people in the face and spitting beer around.
You could see even the band were getting pissed off with him.
I'm not normally a violent person, but during the gig he was rewarded with a punch to the back of his head and after the concert, a slap across the face – my personal way of showing him his behaviour was not appreciated.
He did of course follow me back to where my mates were standing in the corner but was duly put on the floor and given a good shoeing (cheers, lads) before being kicked out by a bouncer.
He then proceeded to stand in the doorway raging and ranting as we smiled, finished our beers and gave him occasional waves and winks from the bar.
Later on, a few of us headed to Tanner's to digest the evening.
A rock solid performance, a decent little brawl and a band we would happily go see again.
Here's to the 50th Anniversary!
Chief hack's note: Cheers, Steve. Sorry I couldn't make the gig but I was in bed with, ahem, alcohol poisoning. Something to do with too much beer and cherry juice the previous days and nights running, I think.
Anyway, that said, I guess we'd better have some tunes, so here's the Vibrators playing Automatic Lover, Amphetamine Blue and Slow Death live on PressureDrop.tv in San Francisco this past September, embedded here on the tune-tastic Rake & Herald from, weirdly enough, PressureDrop.tv's YouTube channel, which you can check out here.
In fact, you can watch the full set as a YouTube playlist thing by clicking this. And while you're about, don't forget to visit the Vibrators' website and FaceBook page for upcoming tour dates, news, pics and merch and the like.
See also Rancid revisited, posted 17/12/15, among others.
Steve Auto is the editor of Poz-based punk and alternative music fanzine Point Blank Poznan, a publication we've very kindly been allowed to lift a fair few stories from, such as this one here, for example. Cheers, Steve! I've got a load of pierogi going off in the shed if you fancy it.
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