By Jim Templeton-Cross, Rock At Night London Photographer and Correspondent and Chyrisse Tabone, Rock At Night Tampa Correspondent
Venue: The Lexington, London-June 3, 2016–The Membranes with Thee Faction and Black Crack
Rock At Night is a purveyor of old school punk and has been a supporter of The Membranes and Black Crack for some time. Of course, when the big show at The Lexington, London on June 3rd was announced, RAN immediately RSVP’d. The show featured not only The Membranes and Black Crack but also Thee Faction, which proved to be a superb triple-billing. The evening was even more special because The Membranes launched their remix album of concept album Dark Matter/Dark Energy and performed the show complete with a full choir. Also, Black Crack unveiled their 7-inch vinyl single which features three of their popular songs “I Woke Up”and “Peach Fuzz”.
First off, The Lexington was completely sold out. Yes, when I arrived the place was full of a lot of “older” punks but also a lot of young people. There was no photo pit so I had to find a little spot to capture the energy of the show through my photos.
Black Crack got the crowd totally into the “angry punk” mood with songs like “Hey Fucker” which has a heavy bass beat, screaming electric guitars, and a lot of attitude. Lyrics like It’s a fucked up time to fall in love may bring back memories of a bad relationship—OK, a fucked up one—that many of us have had. Kudos to Black Crack for capturing this sentiment. Black Crack’s 30 minute set featured the essence of garage punk rock at its best. And what is real punk rock without a little blood? Lead singer Mark Tilton whacked his mic on his forehead and looked like he had been in a boxing match by the end of the set.
Thee Faction, the next band, described their mission as “Revolutionary Socialism through Pop Music”—and indeed it was. The songs were a mix of punk, pop, blues, and rock backed by a funky horn section that made the stiffest person break into dance. Subliminal political education never felt so good! Lead singer Billy Brentford asked “Does anybody have conservative friends? Well, that relationship has to end!” and then jumped into the song “Conservative Friend”. Most of the songs sounded like Sam and Dave on steroids with a political message—and very catchy melodies. Another song “Don’t Call on Rock ‘n’ Roll” almost had a horn rhythm reminiscent of “Smoke on the Water”. Very cool, socially relevant and danceable music.
Finally, The Membranes began their set with a dark and mysterious feel of the women’s choir coupled with cymbals and finally guitar distortion. The lighting was static blue and the atmosphere was almost surreal. I caught one of the older women in the choir looking a wee bit confused but then she cracked a smile. The women began to really get into the combination of punk music and melodic choir which proved to be almost a sensory overload. The set started out with slow dark numbers but then melded into full punk mode with “Do the Supernova” and “The Universe Explodes Into A Billion Photons of Pure White Light”.
The audience, I could see, was mesmerized by the hulking bassist and lead singer John Robb, sporting his trademark punk/Mohican hair and leaning over the crowd. The atmosphere was fantastic! To be there and feel the energy and be part of this unique show, which was nothing short of being a rock opera at its finest, was an absolute adrenaline rush.
**Interesting moment—John Robb played a pianica during the last song!
ALL PHOTOS taken by Jim Templeton-Cross
Membranes are Nick Brown (guitars, pianos, Hammond, brass), Peter Bennet (guitars, strings, keyboards, ebow), Rob Haynes (drums, metal percussion) and John Robb (vocals, bass, strings, keyboards).
Rock At Night’s interview articles with John Robb
Members: Billy Brentford – Vox; Nylons – Face-Melting Guitar; Dai Nasty – The Machine; Kassandra Krossing – Vox & Pravda (the organ of truth); Nineteen Nineteen – The ‘Bone of Contention; Red Scare – Trumpet; The Ol’ One-Hand – Sax; Thee Citizen – Bass and Superstructure; Baby Face – Guitar and Polemic; ‘iggins – Welsh Harp; Genre: Socialist R&B; Home Town: Reigate
SET LIST—Thee Faction
Choose Your Enemy
Better Than Wages
Don’t Call on Rock ‘N’ Roll
Members: Mark Tilton, vocals (formerly of The Membranes); C.C.S. Meeke, rhythm guitar; Jon Wygens, lead guitar (formerly Blurt and The Blue Aeroplanes); Adrian Smith-Tuft, bass; Felice Saracco, drums (formerly Blurt, Ted Milton, Grand Drive); Genre: post-punk, garage rock, blues; Home Town: London (by way of Blackpool)
SET LIST-Black Crack
I Woke UP
A.N. Other hate Song
Big Baby Man
You’re Gonna’ Miss Me
Rock At Night’s interview with Mark Tilton
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