Dub Pistols Smash it at The Hub
Walking through Union Street down to The Hub on a Friday night, there was an unnaturally subdued atmosphere surrounding the clubs and bars, usually bustling with students and locals alike, looking worse for wear. However, these people seemed to have all converged at The Hub, where something different was in the air. After being swiftly being ushered in and having a quick beer at the bar before the support act, Kioko, took to the stage, the venue was filling up nicely. A vibrant mix of middle aged couples and their friends merging with students, who were also queuing up for a quick beverage, pleasantly laughing, yet eager to get the evening underway.
Soon after being treated to Birmingham boys Kioko, who got a fair few cutting some unorthodox shapes, it was time for the main act to rocket on to the stage. I mentioned in my preview for this show of the band’s ability to make everyone feel part of the show and this one was no different. In the short interludes between songs, frontman duo Seanie T and Barry Ashworth would rapidly shake many flailing arms to congratulate their audience for their unbalanced skanking. They even brought up on stage a ‘birthday girl’, and her friends, for the climax of the performance, ‘Mucky Weekend’, overwhelming the band in number as the brisk, snappy bassline kicked in. Hammering through songs like, ‘Alive’ and ‘Pistoleros’ caused a frenzy in the crowd, that inspired some of those at the back to charge forward and bop with the rest, in an effort to try to keep up with the rattling snare. As ‘Alive’ dropped in to its second chorus a few strangers even opted to do a can-can across the growing mosh pit. After paying homage to past albums, they introduced tracks from the new album including ‘Boom’, a thunderous number, memorable for its main hook, ‘BOOM!’. ‘London Town’ was totally different in pace and style yet equally as catchy, thanks to intricate brass sections and simple, yet a totally effective chorus structure.
Performing for over an hour and a half is not easy for any musician and some performances can tail off slightly. However, Barry Ashworth still attacks each song as if it were still the first minute of the show, throwing himself around the stage and pulling it off with a unique swagger. Before the show he told me, ‘We have so much Arsenal there to play with, we could play forever’, which is a true testament to the group’s hardworking, yet carefree attitude. Amidst all the busyness of the Crazy Diamond’s tour, which is now in full swing, Ashworth also said that he is ‘already halfway through writing the next record’, using this latest release, like many creative forces, to question where does he want to go next? Obviously, any new record is some way from being released, in the meantime, Ashworth has also joined the Blissfield’s festival team. This will be taking place in Winchester next July, a festival that prides itself on providing a form of escapism for its customers, not too dissimilar from a Dub Pistols show, where all of life’s problems seem to be forgotten.
The new record is called ‘Crazy Diamonds’, which is what this group are. Outrageous, wild, and far from sensible, just a few adjectives that could be used to describe either a Dub Pistols’ album or live show. Yet, within the madness lies a truly irreplaceable diverse sound, so distinctive and uncommon, like a rare jewel which should be treasured. Their documentary titled ‘What the Fuck Could Possibly Go Wrong?’, which has been filmed over the last five years, to be released soon, seems to be a reflective look back at the band’s highs and lows. Ashworth recognises this, ‘We’ve had so many ups and downs, over the years, probably more downs than ups… But we’ve probably moved past being the next big thing, now and have much more of a cult status.’ The documentary will hopefully show off to those, not yet familiar with the band, the fearless charisma that seems to encapsulate every member of the remarkable group and encourage them to catch a show, where it’s always a part
Words Charlie Pinhey
images Bill Borez