The Bobby Lees – Birmingham – Hare and Hounds Kings Heath – 29th June 2022
Based in Woodstock N.Y. at least that is according to their tee shirts, The Bobby Lees are recent Ipecac (Mike Patton) signings, Debbie Harry is quoted as saying “check out The Bobby Lees, the future is minimal proto slash punk!”, who are we to argue with her, Fighting Boredom headed into Birmingham on a Wednesday night to check them out. Read what we thought below.
A bunch of delinquents wander up out iof the audience and get up on stage, The drummer leaping and almost vibrating in excitement. The music is still playing as they strap on instruments and make noise. I’m sure it’s tuning up but it just sounds like them playing massive slices of bass, guitar and random drum patterns. The background music stops eventually and they start. Well, they blast into a punk mass of guitars, bass and drums, they thrash then they slide then they boogie, they are making noise glorious noise. The vocals are high and frantic, keeping up with and matching the musical assault perfectly. The drummer never stops, the bass and guitars with, wonderfully, matching hair on either side of the stage stay fairly still. Well, comparatively, the guitarist spends most of the gig bent double and the bassist grooves to her own rhythm steadfastly laying down the base layer for this fantastic music. The singer puts her guitar down and lets rip, it’s angry, intense and stripped bare right to the spirit of Hard Core. It’s free, loose and easy but damn does it make you move. I’m having difficulty writing notes as I dance. It’s over the top but it’s just perfect.
The vocals get more desperate and emotional and the music becomes more jarring. It’s filthy, dirty and cool, it turns into fun, like watching a bad horror film fun. Like riding a ghost train at a fair fun. Then all of a sudden I realise what they are playing and they have taken it back to New York and the Voidoids as they groove through Blank Generation and if they hadn’t already they prove their punk chops with that choice alone.
They slam into a hard drumming punch fest and I know why I keep doing this, because every now and again I stop writing and lose myself in the glorious punky funky explosive sound. The thrash moments don’t last but they feel like they’re right on the edge of collapse, on the edge ready to fall apart, putting everything they have into the songs. When the singer puts her guitar down she prowls the stage like she’s going to take someone out, her voice is emotional and bloody real. They switch into a slow blues jam and her vocal on it’s own hits true. The whole set is performed with slices of massive noise and attitude from all of them. When the singer speaks the topless drummer appears behind her, dwarfing her and making her jump. They feel human and like us, they follow the same groove as us. They channel the spirits of Exene, Poison Ivy, Mark Arm and many more fuzzed out manic desperados you could think of. They don’t really sound like anything else but they feel like a night out in your teens with a bottle of cheap fortified wine and a dj clued in on the way you feel. The new EPs title track sounds like a desperate call for help as she tells us over and over ‘I’m gonna be a star’ the music behind it sounds like the city of angels being flattened by an earthquake.
My notes go round in circles, saying the same thing over and over. The gist is that this makes absolute perfect sense in my head and this band are quite brilliant. This is music as I feel it in my gut, count me in. They finish with what they introduce as a Waterboys cover, I’ve never ever heard the Waterboys sound like this. thrash and wailing as a blues swamp madness grips the stage. It loosens off then slams back into it again. They leave the crowd dancing and shouting for more, but that’s it. If you need more go see them again and If you missed this one get there next time. The Bobby Lees groove like delinquents and sound like sweat drenched punk rock’n’roll.
All words by Adrian Bloxham all pictures by Martin Ward.