Review and photography by John Bentley

Although not as well known as many of the classic late 1970s punk outfits, The Lurkers produced some superb songs and have a high standing in punk mythology. Formed in 1976 the band recorded four sessions for John Peel and their debut single, ‘Shadow’, was number 12 in Peel’s 1977 ‘Festive Fifty’. Their album reputation was established by 1979’s ‘Fulham Fallout’, a collection of knockout songs including such gems as teenage anthem ‘I’m On Heat’.

The Lurkers at The Continental, Preston

There are three bands on the bill at The Continental tonight all offering variations on the theme of punk rock. The audience seems to be largely made up of veteran punks, with a good mix of males and females, and with many appropriately attired and coiffed for the occasion.

Litterbug at The Continental, Preston

Openers Litterbug are a three-piece from Blackpool who describe their influences as punk, grunge and surf. At this early stage of the evening people are still arriving and congregating at the back of the room, leaving the area in front of the stage empty. A solitary seasoned punk wonders up to the front, stands there and gives the band two fingers. It turns out he knows the bass player and this is his form of greeting. Litterbug play a tight, driving set of fast, melodic punk songs, like opener ‘Prozac Zombie’. The drummer is particularly impressive, seeming to have more than two arms the way he lays into the drumkit.

Wasted Life at The Continental, Preston

Wasted Life at The Continental, Preston

From Stoke-on-Trent, Wasted Life are named after the Stiff Little Fingers song ‘Wasted Life’ and, indeed, they finish their set with a close cover of that song. Their influences obviously include heavy metal and their sonorous sound makes good use of their two snarling guitars. Their singer sounds a bit like Zack de la Rocha of Rage Against the Machine. A really powerful, thunderous and unrelenting performance.

The Lurkers split soon after their second album and bassist / singer Arturo Bassick has kept The Lurkers’ flame alive since, touring and recording albums with various line-ups. Former original members ‘Esso’ Haynes, Pete Stride and Nigel Moore have also recently made music together under the moniker of The Lurkers: Gods Lonely Men, but they don’t play live. Esso and Bassick still collaborate on writing together.

The Lurkers at The Continental, Preston

The Lurkers at The Continental, Preston

Taking the stage Arturo greets us and explains that we are in for a good helping of classic Lurkers songs, with a few new ones. Sporting a red Mohican hair do, Arturo’s right-hand-man is guitarist Dave Kemp, who has been with the band for 20 years and does some outstanding guitar work through the evening. They kick off with ‘Go Ahead Punk’, a skit on Clint Eastwood’s Dirty Harry catch phrase, and a latter-day Lurkers anthem – indeed ‘Go Ahead Punk’ tee-shirts are on sale.

For the first few songs the audience watch respectfully, but eventually some dancers get out front and by the end the floor is awash with gyrating punks. It’s curious that it takes a few women to get the dancing going before the blokes get the confidence to take the floor and do their stuff.

The Lurkers at The Continental, Preston

The Lurkers at The Continental, Preston

There are constant cries for popular debut single ‘Shadow’ and Arturo clearly gets a bit fed-up with this. “We don’t do that one any more”, he lies, though no one believes him. To be fair we do get a pretty good helping of Lurkers classics in the course of the evening, including ‘Freak Show’, ‘I’m On Heat’, ‘Ain’t Got A Clue’, ‘I Don’t Need to Tell Her’ and ‘Then I Kicked Her’, the latter their warped reworking of the Crystal’s ‘Then He Kissed Me’. There’s also a cover of The New York Dolls’ ‘Pills’, the Dolls being a big influence on The Lurkers. And finally they do play ‘Shadow’.

The set lasts for about an hour and by the end the larger than life Arturo has really won over the initially subdued audience and treated us all to an evening of classic Lurkers’ punk.

The Lurkers at The Continental, Preston

Lurkers fans, The Continental, Preston

4 Responses to “The Lurkers + Wasted Life + Litterbug at The Continental, Preston, Lancashire, UK – 7th April 2018”

  1. Stuart Diggle Says:

    If you gots the time, Litterbug tunes are at the fbook link.
    Or go to litterbug.bandcamp.com

  2. Arturo Says:

    We had a great time , thanks for review and pics , cheeeeeers

  3. john bentley Says:

    It’s a pleasure! Very enjoyable evening! John, photographer and reviewer

  4. Barry Ward Says:

    This was a top class THREE HITTER !! Lurkers were awesome and so were the supporting bands – Litterbug and Wasted Life – Congratulations to Robin at the Continental for getting this on – Top Night!

Leave a Reply