REVIEW: Gene October '“ a fighter who's in it for the long haul

Chelsea and Pig City Angels, The Prince Albert, Brighton, April 22


Fate dealt a cruel hand to one John O’Hara back in the mid-to-late 1970s.

He placed an advert in Melody Maker, inviting musicians to come and form a punk band named Chelsea. He found the right guys and with his new three mates he was instrumental in the creation of the legendary Roxy punk venue and everything was going just fine and dandy.

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However, singer John (known as Gene October) was suddenly faced with the fact that his three mates (William, Anthony aka ‘Tony’ and another John) scampered off to form another band.

The other band got famous and were known as Generation X. Their singer William, known to the world as Billy Idol, made it big in the States. Then Tony masterminded one of the best hype machines in history after the Sex Pistols that is, namely the creation of the groundbreaking in-yer-face Sigue Sigue Sputnik.

Did this put off Gene? Like hell did it! He got himself another set of new mates and carried on flying the Chelsea punk banner. True to form after a while one of his new punk cohorts up-shipped and joined Generation X (then known as Gen X). Another setback for Gene? Of course not, Gene is a fighter and he’s in it for the long haul.

So here we are today at The Albert, celebrating the first gig of the Chelsea 40th anniversary 15-date UK tour.

The raucous evening was kicked off by Pig City Angels, a local Brighton four-piece combo, who were obviously inspired by the sound of 1977, with elements of metal and glam thrown in for good measures.

They have just released their debut ten-track album, In The Red, which can be found on their Bandcamp page. Tonight they whizzed through 11 tracks with nine of them from the new record.

The accomplished Chelsea set tonight (from this current four-piece line-up) was as you would expect it to be – nice ’n’ fast with copious amounts of Mick Jagger/Iggy Pop style posing and pouting from Gene.

It was that good that my mate was literally driven to tears! I have never seen him do that before. Punks crying? Surely not.

The Pig City Angels tracks performed tonight were: ‘Now Or Never’, ‘Electric Eyes’, ‘Home And Away’, ‘Black And Blue’, ‘3 Chord Wonder’, ‘Pornography’, ‘Murder’, ‘Hard One’, ‘Croydon’, ‘National Anthem’ and a fast cover of Elton John’s ‘Rocket Man’.

The Chelsea tracks performed were: ‘Sad’, ‘12 Men’, ‘Come On’, ‘How Do You Know’, ‘I’m On Fire’, ‘The Loner’, ‘No Flowers’,’’War Across The Nation’, ‘Running Free’, ‘This Is Now’, ‘No Ones Coming Outside’, ‘F*** All’, ‘Johnny Has No Respect’, ‘No Admission’, ‘Urban Kids’, ‘Don’t Believe’, ‘Evacuate’, ‘Last Drink’, ‘Right To Work’.

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