October 7, 2012 by tonetribune
There exists a potent, often overlooked phenomenon in Rock n’ Roll history that laid some substantial groundwork for the snowballing sounds and styles that are just as evident today as they were in the late seventies. That phenomenon is known as Pub Rock and though it had it’s champions (Dr.Feelgood, Eddie and the Hotrods, Kilburn and the High Roads, Ducks Deluxe, etc.,) pub-rock was largely an underground live movement that was eventually eclipsed by it’s bastard offspring Punk.
Initially a brutish, back-to-basics reaction to the indulgent, prog-poisoned early seventies, Pub Rock’s stripped down sound, dirty suites, wailing harp and bluesy snarl was also a hairy knuckle sandwich for glitter-rockers to swallow. Mutton-chopped lads singing about the frustrations of real life while pounding the audience with ratchet and clank guitars. It was this menacing realism and direct delivery that informed the younger, soon-to-be punks.
When the English Punk Rock explosion eclipsed everything that had come before it, there where a few acts that made the 1977 transfer seamlessly like the Vibrators and Stranglers (who went on to defy any category) and others like Joe Strummer who jumped ship from his own Pub Rock group, the 101er’s to join The Clash.
Legendary Chiswick recording artists The Stukas burst on the scene in 77 with a pair of blinding 7-inch’s that showcased a conglomerate of Pub and Punk Rock. With speed, urgency, humor and honesty they deliver a hyper blast of leads, hooks and shout along choruses that are both catchy and clever.
Fast forward 35 years and original Stukas Raggy Lewis and Kevin Allen share the stage in Scarborough for the first time since the seventies. Joining them are cohorts Andy Eastwood of London R&B giants Blast Furnace and the Heatwaves (whom Kevin Allen also played bass in with singer/guitar player Charles Chaar Murray), harp blower Skid Stuart and local Scarborough drummer Mark Evans. The set list (cheekily duct taped to Raggy’s back for Nigel to see) was filled with Pub Rock classics and had the house surrendering to the music instantly.
In a retro-chic era where twenty-somethings pretend they are of different decades and deliver limp imitations of bygone eras, it is really refreshing to see the real thing in action. Age has not blunted the wit, presence and chops of these blokes one bit and their enthusiasm, charm and power is infectious and electric.
The music is just as invigorating and feral as it could ever be and I am one lucky Yank to have witnessed the purveyors of this overlooked genre first hand.
2013 Update: The Unruly Alliance will rock Scarborough once again on 02/10/2013 at Vivaz! This time I (Fletcher Stewart) will be joining in on guitar and more importantly legendary Dr. Feelgood Rock Pianist John Potter will be belting out some classics with the gang.
Here is a dose of what you can expect….