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Tewkesbury ska-punkers [Spunge] have been touring relentlessly since their formation nearly 20 years ago. Despite never breaking into the mainstream, they have a loyal band of followers and always put on a hell of a show, so it was great to see them returning to Birmingham.

The Angry Bombs

This time they’d brought the Angry Bombs with them – a local punk three-piece who formed just over a year ago. Despite their recent beginnings, they already have an impressive number of songs under their belt, and plenty to fill the night’s opening slot.

The Angry BombsThe Angry Bombs

The crowd was a little thin on the ground this early in the night, which must be daunting for even the most experienced of bands. The Angry Bombs didn’t let this phase them though, and did a great job of warming them up, thrashing out a set filled with fast, catchy songs. Their set list included Got Your Thrills and Falling For You from their debut EP Mommy is a Psycho, and newer ones such as Uprising and You’re Not Sorry.

Dirt Box Disco

With the night kicked off nicely it was time for Dirt Box Disco to keep up the momentum. As soon as they took to the stage you could tell it was going to be a special set – all five members were dressed in the most bizarre costumes you’ve seen on a band, with kimonos, leather pants, balaclavas, and face paint all making an appearance.

Dirt Box Disco

This was one of the most energetic and entertaining bands I’ve seen in a long time. Their songs were somewhat simplistic, but what they lack in lyrical dexterity they more than make up for in enthusiasm, jumping around the stage and having some hilarious banter with their hardcore fans in the crowd.

Dirt Box DiscoDirt Box Disco

Stand-out songs included I Don’t Wanna Go Out With You and I Am Rock n Roll, although their entire set was hugely entertaining just because of the sheer fun factor. This is definitely a band that takes things to another level when they play live.

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Finally it was time for veterans Spunge to take the stage. By this point the venue had filled out nicely, and the audience was eagerly anticipating an energy-filled set.

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Having been around for so many years, Spunge have an extensive back-catalogue to choose from, and their set was filled with crowd-pleasers that everyone could sing and skank along to. They chose a good mix of faster and slower songs, including Friend Called Fred, Ego, and Roots. They also threw in their version of No Woman, No Cry – a cover that Ziggy Marley liked so much he gave them permission to change the lyrics.

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Over the years Spunge have toured with some big names in the industry, including Green Day and Bowling for Soup. This experience showed, and they easily chatted and joked with the crowd between songs.

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Near the end of their set they called half the crowd onto the stage, and rounded things off perfectly by blasting out Skanking Song while everyone caused mayhem around them. It was a great way to end an intimate gig, and showed that Spunge still love to perform and really know how to give their fans a fantastic night out.

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Gig Review by Pete Williams
Gig Photos by Helen Williams

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