It’s late on Friday night and The Bar Below in Folkestone looks like a riot has exploded in inside it. There’s money and white powder across the floor with a little broken glass for good measure. What has happened here?
A) A nuclear bomb has exploded
B) An over energetic kangaroo has escaped
C) A punk gig
Luckily it’s not A, and I think I saw a kangaroo running through the cloud of dust but the answer is a punk gig. Yep, on Friday the 5th of October Below the Radar Events and Promotions brought punk to The Bar Below and it was good! Across the night four bands took to the stage to vent at a very enthusiastic crowd.
Starting things off were The Half-Wits. A spectacle from the start as the band started churning out noise front man Tadhg Leachy stood poised on a drum kit that looked like it had been kicked down a mountain. Not for long though, the energy in the room was instant and The Half-Wits went in to action stirring up the crowd. Despite being the opening band they even managed to get a few people moshing. The band played a Joe Strummer cover and featured guest vocals from a friend in the audience. Impressive because he could barely stand up, and managed to keep time with the band. From their set and stage presence it’s easy to see why they’ve played with bands like The UK Subs and Avenge Thee + Naime. Please a take a moment at this point to mourn the loss of several glasses during the moshing.
Following this were Ted Bibiase and the Million Dollar Punk Band, playing their first ever Folkestone gig. Confusing the audience before they’d even begun, sitting on stage was a decanter of champagne and a cigar. When the three piece joined the scene mostly dressed in suits things were no clearer. But from the word go they went for it in full facetious glory. The level at which the band went for it was shown when the drummer kicked though the kick drum. Dedicating one song to a public figure becoming more and more infamous as every day passes they attacked and degraded pretty much anything in mainstream culture. If things were unclear at the start of the band’s set however they soon became much more unclear. The band let a few talc-bombs lose, causing people to dodge the low flying bombs – and one unlucky person to suddenly do an awesome impression of a ghost. The band even made everyone in the crowd rich releasing hundreds of 1,000,000 dollar notes. I for one can’t wait to cash it in!
Folkestone’s very own Insult hit the stage next. Aggressive and to the point they opened with ‘Down Your Beer’ before storming into a kinetic and frenzied set. The band brought moshing to a new height amongst the spectators, helped by the lead singer crossing out into the crowd. The band raised the energy level of the room, very happy to be playing a punk gig in Folkestone again. By the end of the set there could be no doubt they were from Folkestone. As aggressive and raging as their energy was it was clear watching them that ultimately they were four mates having a laugh. This was the overall vibe of the night, shown by The Half-Wits returning for some guest vocals again.
Ending the night were 7 Day Conspiracy. The band took a more light hearted approach to their music. In between tracks they chatted with the slightly diminished audience and spoke in depth about the war stories of their drummer during his time during the Korean war. Mainly of him as a prisoner his new role as a drummer probably suits him much better. After smashing it out with a few powerful punk songs the band rose to the challenge of the crowd. This involved playing calypso and reggae tunes, turning the moshing into near dancing. They even rose to the promoters challenge, playing closer to six songs in the time given for three. Now I must take a minute to apologise for what you’re about to read. By the law the first mention of Christmas adverts and songs means it then Christmas. So you’ll be delighted to know that after getting the crowd to sit down in a circle 7 Day let lose a Christmas tune. In their words, ‘Merry Christmas’.
Each band played well and had a stage presence to match. There aren’t many gigs that maintain the amount of energy Below the Radar’s punk special did. Not only that the whole atmosphere was friendly. A great night of live music!
And that’s the tale of how The Bar Below became a talcum powder and money covered mess. Totally worth it.