Justice Tonight – Day 4: London Calling …

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The Scala frames the gig perfectly. I always loved this place. The sort of building you want to see a Rock n Roll show in, you know, a weird shape, a tight space- a 1000 capacity sell out. Perfect. Oh and the Stooges played their one and only proper original line up UK show here four decades ago. That’s enough. That’s proper history. The shot on the front of the Raw Power album is from here and the famous pictures of Iggy climbing around the venue are from here. I try to imagine Iggy in his gold pants and streaked glam make up doing those moves captured perfectly by photographer Mick Rock all those years ago and smile at the sheer terror he must have struck into the happy smiley crowd.

Tonight, of course, is different. There is an air of expectation as the Farm run though their soundcheck. The Justice Tonight family know what’s going down. Paul Simonon, the coolest man from punk is going to be getting up and playing with Mick. That’s more rock n roll history. Of course they toured together in the Gorillaz. But this is different. This is as close to the Clash that you will get who will be playing.

Maybe rock n roll can be about saving the world and not saving up to buy it. I was reading this week about Metallica’s management looking at the ‘European market’ and wondering about the collapse of the Euro and wondering if the potential tour would be money making enough. Fuck. You.

It’s time for the rock n roll bands to stop hoovering up the money. How much fucking money do you need? Times are tough, these are the Armagideon Times: come and entertain us. Come and make us dream. Come and make us wanna fuck. Come and make us think. Come and make us feel alive. That’s your fucking job. Reconnect with the people who have paid for your guitar shaped swimming pools. It’s been said over and over hasn’t it? Out of touch means out of shape. We learned that with punk.

Tonight has more support bands than the other nights which means, being the compere , more work for me. But it’s an honour to be here and I would happily spend all day introducing bands if it’s my tiny contribution to the cause.

I’ve met some great people on this tour like the bands or the MPs who still stand for something but it’s Sheila Coleman who runs the Hillsborough Justice campaign that is the coolest. She is proof that one person can change things, that with tireless effort and a sense of decency and a just cause the world can be made to creak on its axis.

Sheila is amazing and her cohorts, including Debi, who is selling the Justice for the 96 shirts and merchandise and getting this information out are key cornerstones of the event. Of the course the rock n roll is wonderful and the Internet is deluged with people saying that these are gigs that they will talk about all their lives and how seeing Mick put new life into those Clash classics made them actually physically cry with pure emotion but the cause is everything.

First up are Savage Nomads who play a great ten minute set of angular post rock, the singer is Chris Salewicz’s son- the writer of the great Joe Strummer biog.

They are followed by Shades Of Mighty, a punk rock trio who twist things with their charismatic frontman -a rare black face in the too white punk scene, we chat afterwards about that and the way punk should have been for everyone but became too white. He adds really good vocal melodies to the punk rock rush giving the songs an intelligent twist.

Next up are the Rotting Hill Gang- an ad hoc collection of Notting Hill ragamuffins who play a post BAD, neo Alabama 3 style party music, an urban mash up with the cool as fuck Holly Cook on vocals.

(continues overleaf)

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