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Live Music Review Sonic boom from the Godfathers

The Godfathers
100 Club


BILLED as a Saint Valentine's Day Massacre, there's no gunfire but plenty of high-octane sonic attack right from the off in this Godfathers gig.


But this is much more than a big bad beautiful noise. Like a brooding Don, Peter Coyne stalks the stage, spitting out lyrics as he supervises his adoring family — a rock-solid rhythm section of Tim James on drums and Darren Birch on bass punching harder than any bare-knuckle fighter. Their explosive riffs are not so much played as driven by a superb twin-guitar assault, while Steve Crittal feels every chord and Alex Macbain adds intricacy to the riffs.


These are no one-dimensional songs but hook-laden gems, fusing the simplicity of punk with the grand scale of rock. They have been the Godfathers' calling card for more than three decades and, for their fans, every set will always be a greatest hits show.


But it is not just past glories such as If I Only Had Time, Love Is Dead, How Low Is Low, Unsatisfied, Johnny Cash Blues and I Can't Sleep Tonight that stand out. There are stunningly good new numbers, with Defibrillator and Till My Heart Stops Beating already classics.


Like a cross between Johnny Rotten and Marlon Brando, the red-faced Coyne commands the stage as he stalks and sneers through his stories of working-class life. “I cut myself but I don't bleed/cos I don't get what I need/and it doesn't matter what I say/tomorrow's still another day,” he sings.


Birth, School, Work, Death is an exhilarating and emotional climax — rock meets the Ramones — and the crowd join in the body-slamming mayhem unleashed by a storming encore cover of Blitzkrieg Bop.


Coyne praises the Horton family who have kept the independent 100 Club going for 75 years and he is right to do so. But The Godfathers need to be prominent on their wall, along with the photographs of all the other giants.


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