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Saturday, March 21, 2015

Concrete Sox - Live at the Kopi - Worst gig ever?

Concrete Sox Euro ‘Tour’ 2010 

(aka how to make a complete embarrassment of yourself) 

The most amusing sham of a tour you’ll read about for years to come.

Ont Road Exclusive Report

Not a band I’ve ever had a liking for and had an affiliation with; yet during a summer trip in Germany I soon discovered a set of circumstances that the band was involved in, which has now become legendary, and not for the right reasons. Following a series of interviews with veteran scenesters, Ont Road can exclusively reveal the events that lead to their infamous performance in Berlin being described as ‘the worst gig ever?’

Even before the band hit the mainland, all was not well at Camp Sox. Seven days before the tour, a desperate plea was put out as a facebook status update by Vic, guitarist, singer, and only remaining original member of the band, asking if anyone would to play drums on the upcoming tour - at this stage any rational musician would have pulled the plug - yet the war machine was still at work, so Vic pulled up his sox, and found a replacement to continue the nightmare.

Those with strong intuitions would have been concerned with what happened immediately after the band arrived at the German airport. Within 5 minutes of stepping into the van, Vic gave the driver a CD to play. Much to his surprise it was the limited edition, sought after, Concrete Sox instrumental greatest hits compilation. Looking into the rear view mirror, the driver said he was in disbelief, watching the guitarist trying to play along and learn the songs.

Three days later, Ont Road editor, Herr Schwarzbrennen, found himself on the streets with with nowhere to stay, after seeing the excellent Chicago garage band M.O.T.O. live in Berlin. Thankfully there was a show taking place at the Kopi, featuring Concrete Sox, who were labelled on the flyer as ‘legendary UK crust’. The expectation was high.

The most striking thing about their stage presence was a song sheet stand in front of Vic that held a folder, which he was urgently flicking through between songs. At one point, for a good 30 seconds, as the rest of the band were playing the start of the song, he was just bent over looking through the book. After 2 songs it was clear that the band couldn’t play together.

The German audiences are not well known for making wild or mildly enthusiastic crowd responses; yet the subdued and morose atmosphere during their performance was taking things to the extreme. Most people were stood in circles, having conversations with their friends, whilst the band plodded along, desperately trying not to acknowledge the fact that they were out of time, and sounded like dog-shit. In fact, the band looked uncomfortable together, and were regularly making awkward gestures towards each other.

They were so bad that a German punk defied belief by engaging in the art of the heckle. In an exhibition as pleasing as an unmade bed, Vic responded to a standard heckle of ‘Go home’, with the much thought out ‘No. You go home’. A tumble-weed then blew across the stage.

The set is best summed up, not by the few songs they managed to get through, or the crowd reaction; it is by their choice of songs to cover. Social Distortion was a bizarre choice, yet the song ‘Left me for dead’ by English Dogs proved to be prophetic, as Vic sang out ‘Leave me be, leave me be, I’ve had enough, can’t you see’ to the rapidly depleting audience.

Just as John Lydon of the Sex Pistols announced at the end of their final concert with reflective wisdom, uttering ‘Ever get the feeling you’ve been cheated?’, this was probably running through the minds of all the paying punters, as the Sox set is cut drastically short and Vic sheepishly says, ‘I’d like to apologise, we’ve fucked up’...and so ends the show.

After the show, the band were spotted having a number of arguments with each other. However, the following morning the time came for the Sox to finally hang out and dry. The tour organiser, who had received complaints from the promoters of the two shows they had played on the tour, informed the band that he had cancelled the rest of the tour in order to save his reputation, and that this was the first time he has ever had to carry out such drastic action.

Geriatric Unit were supposed to play a show with them later in the tour, and when singer Gords, phoned Vic to see what time they were arriving, he was told ‘it’s all gone to shit mate, i’ll speak to you later’ before being cut off.

And so it remains, the calamity that was the Concrete Sox ‘Sham and no 69’ European Tour 2010. Concrete Sox (Live in Berlin) - The Worst Gig Ever? cassette tape is available from www.kickasstapes.jimdo.com, based in Berlin, Germany.

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